Temperate propolis has anti-inflammatory effects and is a potent inhibitor of nitric oxide formation in macrophages

Samyah Alanazi, Naif Alenzi, James Fearnley, William Harnett, David G. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Previous research has shown that propolis has immunomodulatory activity. Extracts from two UK propolis samples were assessed for their anti-inflammatory activities by investigating their ability to alter the production of the cytokines: tumour necrosis factor-ff (TNF-ff), interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, and IL-10 from mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages co-stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The propolis extracts suppressed the secretion of IL-1 and IL-6 with less effect on TNFff. In addition, propolis reduced the levels of nitric oxide formed by LPS-stimulated macrophages. Metabolomic profiling was carried out by liquid chromatography (LC) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) on a ZIC-pHILIC column. LPS increased the levels of intermediates involved in nitric oxide biosynthesis; propolis lowered many of these. In addition, LPS produced an increase in itaconate and citrate, and propolis treatment increased itaconate still further while greatly reducing citrate levels. Moreover, LPS treatment increased levels of glutathione (GSH) and intermediates in its biosynthesis, while propolis treatment boosted these still further. In addition, propolis treatment greatly increased levels of uridine diphosphate (UDP)-sugar conjugates. Overall, the results showed that propolis extracts exert an anti-inflammatory effect by the inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines and by the metabolic reprogramming of LPS activity in macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number413
Number of pages17
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020


  • propolis
  • pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • LPS stimulation
  • bone marrow derived macrophages
  • metabolomics


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