Article

The anti-inflammatory pharmacology of Pycnogenol in humans involves COX-2 and 5-LOX mRNA expression in leukocytes.

National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition, Rome, Italy.
International immunopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.71). 07/2009; 9(10):1145-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.intimp.2009.06.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We investigated the effects of Pycnogenol supplementation on the arachidonic acid pathway in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) in response to an inflammatory stimulus. Pycnogenol is a standardised extract of French maritime pine bark consisting of procyanidins and polyphenolic monomers. Healthy volunteers aged 35 to 50 years were supplemented with 150 mg Pycnogenol a day for five days. Before and after the final day of supplementation, blood was drawn and PMNL were isolated. PMNL were primed with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and stimulated with the receptor-mediated agonist formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) to activate the arachidonic acid pathway and the biosynthesis of leukotrienes, thromboxane and prostaglandins. Pycnogenol supplementation inhibited 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) gene expression and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity. This effect was associated with a compensatory up-regulation of COX-1 gene expression. Interestingly, Pycnogenol suspended the interdependency between 5-LOX and 5-lipoxygenase activating protein (FLAP) expression. Pycnogenol supplementation reduced leukotriene production but did not leave prostaglandins unaltered, which we attribute to a decline of COX-2 activity in favour of COX-1. Here we show for the first time that Pycnogenol supplementation simultaneously inhibits COX-2 and 5-LOX gene expression and reduces leukotriene biosynthesis in human PMNL upon pro-inflammatory stimulation ex vivo.

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