Phytochemical study and immunomodulatory activity of Fraxinus excelsior L.

Rana Mohammad Qasaymeh, Dino Rotondo, Veronique Seidel

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Objectives Fraxinus excelsior L. (FE) is traditionally used to treat inflammatory and pain disorders. This study aimed to identify the constituents of FE leaves and evaluate the effects of its n-hexane (FEH), ethyl acetate (FEE), methanol (FEM) extracts and constituents on the viability of THP-1 cells and their ability to release pro-inflammatory cytokines. Methods THP-1 cell viability was assessed using an MTT assay. The immunomodulatory activity was evaluated by measuring tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 12 (IL-12) released by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated THP-1 cells using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Key findings Triterpenes, tyrosol esters, alkanes, phytyl and steryl esters, pinocembrin and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate were isolated from FE. The tyrosol esters showed no significant effect on THP-1 cell viability. FEH, FEE, FEM, and pinocembrin, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid had IC50 values of 56.9, 39.9, 124.7 µg/ml and 178.6, 61.5 and 199.8 µM, respectively. FE extracts, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid and pinocembrin significantly reduced TNF-α/IL-12 levels. The tyrosol esters did not significantly affect TNF-α/IL-12 production. Conclusions FE was able to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokine production indicating a mechanistic focus in its use for inflammation and pain. Further investigations are warranted to unravel the mode of action of the tested constituents and discover other potentially active compounds in FE extracts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberrgac076
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Early online date4 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Nov 2022


  • fraxinus excelsior
  • cell viability
  • immunomodulatory activity


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