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Int J Mol Med. 2016 Feb;37(2):501-8. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2015.2447. Epub 2015 Dec 28.

Inhibitory effect of fermented Arctium lappa fruit extract on the IgE-mediated allergic response in RBL‑2H3 cells.

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Korean Medicine (KM)-Application Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM), Daegu 41062, Republic of Korea.


Arctium lappa fruit has been used in traditional medicine, and it is known to exert beneficial effects, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. However, the effects of the Arctium lappa fruit on the allergic response remain unknown. In this study, we evaluated the anti-allergic effects of Arctium lappa fruit extract (AFE) and its fermented form (F-AFE) using immunoglobulin E (IgE)-activated RBL‑2H3 cells. To investigate the anti-allergic effects of AFE or F-AFE, we examined the release of β-hexosaminidase, a key biomarker of degranulation during an allergic reaction, and the production of pro-inflammatory mediators, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in the cells treated with or without the above-mentioned extracts. AFE weakly inhibited the release of β-hexosaminidase, whereas F-AFE significantly suppressed the release of β-hexosaminidase in a dose-dependent manner. Consistently, F-AFE suppressed the production of TNF-α and PGE2 in a dose-dependent manner. F-AFE exerted an inhibitory effect on the production of β-hexosaminidase, TNF-α and PGE2 with an IC50 value of 30.73, 46.96 and 36.27 µg/ml, respectively. Furthermore, F-AFE inhibited the phosphorylation of Lyn, Fyn and Syk, which are involved in the FcεRI signaling pathway, that of phosphoinositide phospholipase C (PLC)γ1/2 and protein kinase C (PKC)δ, which are associated with the degranulation process, as well as that of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1/2 (JNK), p38 and Akt, which are associated with cytokine expression. In the late phase, F-AFE partially suppressed the phosphorylation of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), but not the expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. To compare and identify the major components of the two extracts, we used high-performance liquid chromatography. The levels of arctigenin, one of the major compounds, were elevated 6-fold in F-AFE compared with AFE, whereas the levels of arctiin, an arctigenin glycoside, were decreased in F-AFE by approximately 57.40%. These results suggest that arctigenin plays an important role in the anti-allergic effects of F-AFE. Taken together, F-AFE containing anti-allergic phytochemicals, including arctigenin, inhibited the activation of the FcεRI receptor induced by the antigen‑IgE complex. Such effects may provide further information for the development of a phytomedicine for allergic diseases.

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