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Phytother Res. 2019 Jan;33(1):167-173. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6210. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Immunomodulatory effect of Cynara scolymus (artichoke) in rats.

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Institute of Environmental, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo (ICAQF-UNIFESP), Diadema, Brazil.
Research Centre for Veterinary Toxicology (CEPTOX), Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, University of São Paulo, Pirassununga, Brazil.


Cynara scolymus is a plant used both as food as well as medicinal plant worldwide. Cynarin is one of the main active principles of the plant, and it is also present in species such as Echinacea purpurae, which is known to have immunomodulatory activity. Thus, the objective of this study is to evaluate the immune effects of C. scolymus in rats. Rats were treated with 1.0-, 2.0-, or 4.0-g/kg body weight of C. scolymus extract for 28 days. Haemogram, serum biochemistry, lymphoid organs weight, and their cell phenotypes were evaluated. Macrophages and neutrophils oxidative burst, specific humoral immune response, and the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) were studied. No changes in the haemogram, biochemical profile, antibody titers, lymphoid organs, and in their cellularities were observed. An increase in the basal activity of reactive oxygen species from male's macrophage was observed. There was a suppression of the DTH response in both gender when treated with the highest dose of C. scolymus. This study is the first in the literature that revealed an immunosuppressive effect of C. scolymus. We also verified that the doses of artichoke extract here employed did not cause general toxicity.


artichoke; immune response; immune system evaluation; rats

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