AIM: To investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract and elucidate its mechanisms for targeting the function of antigen presenting cells.
METHODS: Cinnamon extract was used to treat murine macrophage cell line (Raw 264.7), mouse primary antigen-presenting cells (APCs, MHCII+) and CD11c+ dendritic cells to analyze the effects of cinnamon extract on APC function. The mechanisms of action of cinnamon extract on APCs were investigated by analyzing cytokine production, and expression of MHC antigens and co-stimulatory molecules by quantitative real-time PCR and flow cytometry. In addition, the effect of cinnamon extract on antigen presentation capacity and APC-dependent T-cell differentiation were analyzed by [H3]-thymidine incorporation and cytokine analysis, respectively. To confirm the anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract in vivo, cinnamon or PBS was orally administered to mice for 20 d followed by induction of experimental colitis with 2,4,6 trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. The protective effects of cinnamon extract against experimental colitis were measured by checking clinical symptoms, histological analysis and cytokine expression profiles in inflamed tissue.
RESULTS: Treatment with cinnamon extract inhibited maturation of MHCII+ APCs or CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) by suppressing expression of co-stimulatory molecules (B7.1, B7.2, ICOS-L), MHCII and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. Cinnamon extract induced regulatory DCs (rDCs) that produce low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-12, interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α] while expressing high levels of immunoregulatory cytokines (IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β). In addition, rDCs generated by cinnamon extract inhibited APC-dependent T-cell proliferation, and converted CD4+ T cells into IL-10high CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, oral administration of cinnamon extract inhibited development and progression of intestinal colitis by inhibiting expression of COX-2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α), while enhancing IL-10 levels.
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests the potential of cinnamon extract as an anti-inflammatory agent by targeting the generation of regulatory APCs and IL-10+ regulatory T cells.