Propolis exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells via inhibition of purine nucleoside phosphorylase

Abdulmalik M. Alqarni, Kanidta Niwasabutra, Muhamad Sahlan, Hugo Fearnley, James Fearnley, Valerie A. Ferro, David G. Watson

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Previous research has shown that propolis has immunomodulatory activity. Propolis extracts from different geographic origins were assessed for their anti-inflammatory activities by investigating their ability to alter the production of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and the cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6 and IL-10 in THP-1-derived macrophage cells co-stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). All the propolis extracts suppressed the TNF-α and IL-6 LPS-stimulated levels. Similar suppression effects were detected for IL-1β, but the release of this cytokine was synergised by propolis samples from Ghana and Indonesia when compared with LPS. Overall, the Cameroonian propolis extract (P-C) was the most active and this was evaluated for its effects on the metabolic profile of unstimulated macrophages or macrophages activated by LPS. The levels of 81 polar metabolites were identified by liquid chromatography (LC) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) on a ZIC-pHILIC column. LPS altered the energy, amino acid and nucleotide metabolism in THP-1 cells, and interpretation of the metabolic pathways showed that P-C reversed some of the effects of LPS. Overall, the results showed that propolis extracts exert an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines and by metabolic reprogramming of LPS activity in macrophage cells, suggesting an immunomodulatory effect.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019


  • propolis
  • pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • LPS stimulation
  • THP-1 cells
  • PMA differentiated
  • macrophages

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