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Phytomedicine. 2019 Mar 10:152881. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2019.152881. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic herbal extracts on gene expression of eicosanoids signaling pathways in isolated brain cells.

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EuroPharma USA Inc., 955 Challenger Dr., Green Bay, WI 54311 USA; Phytomed AB, Vaxtorp, Sweden. Electronic address:
Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Staudinger Weg 5, 55128 Mainz, Germany.
Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Staudinger Weg 5, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Electronic address:



The adaptogens modulate expression of genes playing key roles in development of aging-related disorders, which are considered as low-grade systemic inflammatory conditions characterized by an imbalance between pro-and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids.


We compared the effects of anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic plant extracts on the expression of genes involved in biosynthesis of eicosanoids with the purpose to find those plants, which selectively upregulated the expression of anti-inflammatory lipoxins signaling pathways and inhibited pro-inflammatory signaling pathways associated with biosynthesis of leukotrienes, prostaglandins and thromboxanes.


We conducted transcriptome-wide RNA sequencing to profile gene expression alterations in T98G neuroglia cells upon treatment of plant extract and analyzed the relevance of deregulated genes to eicosanoids signaling pathways using in silico models.


For the first time, we demonstrated that Rhodiola rosea, Withania somnifera and Eleutherococcus senticosus downregulate the expression of key genes (ALOX5AP, DPEP2, LTC4S) involved biosynthesis of leukotrienes A, B, C, D and E, resulting in inhibition of leukotriene signaling pathway suggesting their potential benefits in Alzheimer disease. The common feature for all tested anti-inflammatory plants extracts was related to downregulation of ALOX12, which was also associated with neuroprotective action of these medicinal plants as well as their potential benefits in neurodegenerative diseases. None of tested anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic plants selectively activated the ALOX15-mediated signaling pathway, which is associated with generation anti-inflammatory lipoxins. Almost all tested plants upregulated the expression of the prostaglandin E receptor 3 gene (PTGER3) suggesting their potential benefits in the treatment of cancer.


Every single plant tested in this study revealed a specific "signature" on eicosanoid signaling-related gene expression, regardless of their common features as anti-inflammatory or adaptogenic activity. Further studies of the combination of Rhodiola with Withania (Adaptra) for the treatment of Alzheimer disease are required.


Adaptogen; Alzheimer disease; Eicosanoids; Inflammaging RNA sequencing; Pathway analysis

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