Ethanolic extract of origanum vulgare suppresses propionibacterium acnes-induced inflammatory responses in human monocyte and mouse ear edema models

Lu Te Chuang, Tsung Hsien Tsai, Tsung Jung Lien, Wen Cheng Huang, Jun Jen Liu, Hsiang Chang, Mei Ling Chang, Po Jung Tsai

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Acne vulgaris (acne) is a common inflammatory skin disorder, and Propionibacterium acnes plays a major role in the development and progression of acne inflammation. Herbs possessing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity have been applied as a medical option for centuries. In this study, we examined the suppressive effect of ethanolic oregano (Origanum vulgare) extract on live P. Acnes-induced in vivo and in vitro inflammation. Following ethanol extraction of oregano leaves, four compounds with strong antioxidant activity, including rosmarinic acid, quercetin, apigenin, and carvacrol, were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography. Using the mouse ear edema model, we demonstrated that ethanol oregano extracts (EOE) significantly suppressed P. Acnes-induced skin inflammation, as measured by ear thickness (32%) and biopsy weight (37%). In a separate study, using the co-culture of P. Acnes and human THP-1 monocytes, EOE reduced the production of interleukin (IL)-8, IL-1κand tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-κup to 40%, 37%, and 18%, respectively, as well as the expression of these three pro-inflammatory mediators at the transcriptional level. Furthermore, EOE inhibited the translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) into the nucleus possibly by inactivating toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2). The suppressive effect of EOE on live P. Acnes-induced inflammatory responses could be due, in part, to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but not the anti-microbial effect of EOE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1987
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1



  • Anti-inflammatory
  • NF-αB
  • Oregano
  • Propionibacterium acnes
  • TLR2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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