Carvacrol inhibits the excessive immune response induced by influenza virus A via suppressing viral replication and TLR/RLR pattern recognition.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2020 Nov 2:113555. Epub 2020 Nov 2. PMID: 33152425
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Carvacrol, a monoterpene phenol from Mosla chinensis Maxim, which is a commonly Chinese herbal medicine. The most important pharmacology of it is dispelling exogenous evils by increasing perspiration. And it is the gentleman medicine in the Chinese herbal compound prescription of Xin-Jia-Xiang-Ru-Yin, mainly for the treatment of summer colds with dampness including influenza virus A infection.
AIM OF THE STUDY: Our preliminary study verified that the Xin-Jia-Xiang-Ru-Yin could inhibit acute lung injury of mice with influenza virus A infection. And there have been some reports implicating the high antimicrobial activity of carvacrol for a wide range of product preservation, but little research including the effects of it on viral infection. The aim of this study was to reveal the antiviral effects of carvacrol, the main constituent in Mosla chinensis Maxim.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Initially, C57BL/6 mice were grouped and intranasally administered FM1 virus to construct viral infection models. After treatment with ribavirin and carvacrol for 5 days, all mice were euthanized, and specimens were immediately obtained. Histology, flow cytometry and Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) analysis were used to analyze pathological changes in lung tissue, the expression levels of cytokines and the differentiation and proportion of CD4T cells subsets, while Western blot and qRT-PCR were used to detect the expression of related proteins and mRNA.
RESULTS: Carvacrol attenuated lung tissue damage, the proportions of Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg in CD4T cells and the relative proportions of Th1/Th2 and Th17/Treg cells. Carvacrol inhibited the expression of inflammation-associated cytokines including IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-12 and TNF-ɑ, IL-1, IL-10, IL-6. Decreased levels of TLR7, MyD88, IRAK4, TRAK6, NF-κB, RIG-I, IPS-I and IRF mRNA in carvacrol-treated mice were observed comparing to the mice in VC group. Further, the total expression of RIG-I, MyD88 and NF-κB proteins had increased significantly in the VC group but reduced obviously in the group treated with ribavirin or carvacrol.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that carvacrol is a potential alternative treatment for the excessive immune response induced by influenza virus A infection, the cold-fighting effect of Mosla chinensis Maxim may depend on the anti-virus of carvacrol.