Anti-inflammatory properties of BHUx, a polyherbal formulation to prevent atherosclerosis
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BHUx is a polyherbal formulation consisting of water-soluble fractions of five medicinal plants (Commiphora mukul, Terminalia arjuna, Boswellia serrata, Semecarpus anacardium and Strychnos nux vomica). The present study was undertaken to evaluate its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. BHUx, standardized by HPLC fingerprinting and filtered through 0.2 μm filter paper, was employed for different studies under in vivo and in vitro conditions. Under in vivo conditions, BHUx significantly reduced inflammation in the carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema model of inflammation, suggesting its anti-inflammatory properties. In order to test the mechanism of action of BHUx, further in vitro studies were undertaken on cumene-hydroperoxide-induced lipid peroxidation (CHP) in liver homogenate, LPS-induced NO production in peritoneal macrophages and on key enzymes of arachidonic acid cascade, involved in the mediation of inflammation. Under the conditions, BHUx showed concentration-dependent inhibition of CHP-induced lipid peroxidation in liver homogenate, suggesting its antioxidant properties. Similarly the potent anti-inflammatory effects of BHUx are evident by (a) preferential inhibition of COX-2 (IC50 for COX-2 = 80 μg/ml and IC50 for COX-1 = 169 μg/ml), (b) low ratios in the IC50 values of COX-2/COX-1 (0.47), (c) decreased production of NO in LPS-induced peritoneal macrophages and (d) inhibition of 5-LOX (IC50 = 795 μg/ml). BHUx also showed a preference for inhibiting 15-lipoxygenase (IC50 = 44 μg/ml), a key enzyme implicated in LDL oxidation. These studies suggest that BHUx is acting mainly at three levels, i.e., as a potent natural antioxidant, by reduction of key inflammatory mediators of arachidonic acid cascade and by preventing 15-LOX-mediated LDL oxidations, to prevent atherosclerosis.
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