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An Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw) extract protects mice against ozone-induced lung inflammation

Ozone (O3) inhalation has been associated with respiratory tract inflammation and lung functional alterations. To characterize the O3-induced lung inflammation in mice, the effective dose and exposure time were determined. Total protein levels of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), cytological smears, and lung histopathology and morphometry were used to assess and measure the degree of pulmonary inflammation in the mouse model. Ozone inhalation caused acute pneumonitis that was characterized by a high number of infiltrating neutrophils (PMNs) immediately after exposure and increased levels of protein in BALF in mice killed 8 h after O3 exposure. The anti-inflammatory properties of Uncaria tomentosa (UT) have been documented previously. To evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of UT, male mice were given an UT extract for 8 days, exposed to O3, and killed 0 or 8 h after O3 exposure. When compared to untreated controls, UT-treated mice had significantly (p < 0.05) lower levels of protein in BALF, lower degree of epithelial necrosis, higher number of intact epithelial cell nuclei in bronchial wall, and decreased number of PMNs in the bronchiolar lumen. Therefore, UT extract appeared to prevent O3-induced respiratory inflammation in male mice.