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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 18;11(4):e0153643. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153643. eCollection 2016.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties and Chemical Characterization of the Essential Oils of Four Citrus Species.

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Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Laboratório de Farmacologia da Dor e da Inflamação, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Pesquisa de Produtos Naturais, Laboratório de Análise Fitoquímica, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Laboratório de Estruturas de Superfície de Micro-organismos, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.


Citrus fruits have potential health-promoting properties and their essential oils have long been used in several applications. Due to biological effects described to some citrus species in this study our objectives were to analyze and compare the phytochemical composition and evaluate the anti-inflammatory effect of essential oils (EO) obtained from four different Citrus species. Mice were treated with EO obtained from C. limon, C. latifolia, C. aurantifolia or C. limonia (10 to 100 mg/kg, p.o.) and their anti-inflammatory effects were evaluated in chemical induced inflammation (formalin-induced licking response) and carrageenan-induced inflammation in the subcutaneous air pouch model. A possible antinociceptive effect was evaluated in the hot plate model. Phytochemical analyses indicated the presence of geranial, limonene, γ-terpinene and others. EOs from C. limon, C. aurantifolia and C. limonia exhibited anti-inflammatory effects by reducing cell migration, cytokine production and protein extravasation induced by carrageenan. These effects were also obtained with similar amounts of pure limonene. It was also observed that C. aurantifolia induced myelotoxicity in mice. Anti-inflammatory effect of C. limon and C. limonia is probably due to their large quantities of limonene, while the myelotoxicity observed with C. aurantifolia is most likely due to the high concentration of citral. Our results indicate that these EOs from C. limon, C. aurantifolia and C. limonia have a significant anti-inflammatory effect; however, care should be taken with C. aurantifolia.

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