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Papers of the Week

2021 Jul 08

Int J Vitam Nutr Res

Capsaicin affects macrophage anti-inflammatory activity via the MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways.


Li J, Wang H, Zhang L, An N, Ni W, Gao Q, Yu Y
Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2021 Jul 08.
PMID: 34235954.


Capsaicin, the main constituent in chili, is an extremely spicy vanillin alkaloid and is found in several species in China. Traditionally, it has been used to treat inflammatory diseases such as allergic rhinitis, neuralgia after shingles, refractory female urethral syndrome, spontaneous recalcitrant anal pruritus, and solid tumors. Constant stimulation of the body by inflammatory factors can lead to chronic inflammation. Capsaicin possesses anti-inflammatory activity; however, the underlying mechanism is unknown. We investigated the effect of capsaicin on the secretion of macrophage inflammatory factors in a lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation model using 56 healthy, SPF grade, BALB/c mice. To this end, mice peritoneal macrophages were isolated and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (1 μg/mL) and capsaicin (25, 50, 75, or 100 μg/mL) for 24 h. At all concentrations tested, capsaicin significantly promoted the phagocytosis of neutral red dye by macrophages. Furthermore, the gene expression and secretion of inflammatory cytokines significantly increased after induction with lipopolysaccharide (P<0.01); the interleukin (IL)-6 level was 204 μg/mL, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α level was 860 μg/mL, and nitric oxide (NO) level was 19.8 μg/mL. However, the treatment with capsaicin reduced their levels (P<0.01) and protein expression of lipopolysaccharide-induced extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 and p65 (P<0.05). Overall, capsaicin reduced the secretion of inflammatory cytokines (P<0.01), interleukins, TNF-α (P<0.01), and NO by inhibiting the nuclear factor-kappa B and microtubule-associated protein kinase signaling pathways, and thereby reduced lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in macrophages.