Aims: Inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2) has been implicated in the process of inflammation and carcinogenesis. Chamomile has long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. In this study we aimed to investigate whether chamomile interferes with the COX-2 pathway.
Main methods: We used lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages as an in vitro model for our studies.
Key findings: Chamomile treatment inhibited the release of LPS-induced prostaglandin E(2) in RAW 264.7 macrophages. This effect was found to be due to inhibition of COX-2 enzyme activity by chamomile. In addition, chamomile caused reduction in LPS-induced COX-2 mRNA and protein expression, without affecting COX-1 expression. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, sulindac and a specific COX-2 inhibitor, NS398, were shown to act similarly in LPS-activated RAW 264.7 cells. Our data suggest that chamomile works by a mechanism of action similar to that attributed to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Significance: These findings add a novel aspect to the biological profile of chamomile which might be important for understanding the usefulness of aqueous chamomile extract in the form of tea in preventing inflammation and cancer.