, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 959-966
Date: 25 Oct 2011

Chlorophyll Revisited: Anti-inflammatory Activities of Chlorophyll a and Inhibition of Expression of TNF-α Gene by the Same

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Abstract

In view of the folklore use of green leaves to treat inflammation, the anti-inflammatory property of chlorophylls and their degradation products were studied. Chlorophyll a and pheophytin a (magnesium-free chlorophyll a) from fresh leaves showed potent anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan-induced paw edema in mice and formalin-induced paw edema in rats. Chlorophyll a inhibited bacterial lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-α (a pro-inflammatory cytokine) gene expression in HEK293 cells, but it did not influence the expression of inducible nitric acid synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 genes. Chlorophyll b only marginally inhibited both inflammation and TNF-α gene expression. But both chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b showed the same level of marginal inhibition on 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate-induced NF-κB activation. Chlorophylls and pheophytins showed in vitro anti-oxidant activity. The study shows that chlorophyll a and its degradation products are valuable and abundantly available anti-inflammatory agents and promising for the development of phytomedicine or conventional medicine to treat inflammation and related diseases.