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Anti-allergic activity of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) in mast cell mediated allergy model

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Chamomile is most popular used medicinal plant and extensively consumed as a tea or tisanes. Traditionally this plant was used for treatment of many ailments such as allergy disorders and inflammatory mediated diseases.

Aim of the study: We investigated the effects of anti-allergic activity of Matricaria recutita L. on mast cell mediated allergic models. Materials and methods: The protective effect of methanol extract of Matricaria recutita against compound 48/80 induced anaphylaxis and pruritis models for acute phase of hypersensitivity reactions were carried out. The late phase hypersensitivity reactions by compound 48/80 induced mast cell degranulation and histamine release from blood along with serum nitric oxide (NO), rat peritoneal fluid nitric oxide (NO) and bronchoalveolar fluid nitric oxide (NO) levels were measured.

Results: The methanol extract of Matricaria recutita L. showed inhibitory effects on anaphylaxis induced by compound 48/80 and significant dose dependent anti-pruritis property was observed by inhibiting the mast cell degranulation. Mast cell membrane stabilization activity was also observed in compound 48/80 induced mast cell activation. Dose dependent reduction in the histamine release, along with decreased release of serum, rat peritoneal and BAL fluid nitric oxide (NO) levels were observed.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the methanol extract of Matricaria recutita showed potent antiallergic activity by inhibition of histamine release from mast cells.

Allergic diseases include asthma, rhinitis, atopic eczema and dermatitis syndrome. Its prevalence has been increasing world wide (Xie and He, 2005). Mast cell, which is constituent of virtually all organs and tissue are important mediators of inflammatory responses such as allergy and anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is mediated by histamine released in response to antigen cross-linking of IgE bound to FCRI on mast cells. Mast cell activation causes the process of degranulation that results in the release of mediators such as histamine, as well as a wide variety of other inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes, prostaglandins, proteases and several pro-inflammatory and chemotactic cytokines (Kalesnikoff and Galli, 2008). In addition, allergic responses also trigger the influx and activation of a variety of cells including eosinophils and lymphocytes (Metcalfe et al., 1997). Among the inflammatory mediators released from mast cells, histamine remains the best characterized and most potent vasoactive mediator implicated in acute phase of hypersensitivity (Kim et al., 2005). Mast cell degranulation can also be elicited by non-immunologic stimulators such as neuropeptides, basic compounds, compliment components, and certain drugs (Oskeritizian et al., 2005).