This study investigated 27 selected terpenoid compounds, including 8 monoterpenoids, 7 sesqui-terpenoids, 3 di-terpenoids, 8 tri-terpenoids, and 1 tetra-terpenoid, for their Th1/Th2 immunomodulatory potential using mouse primary splenocytes. Changes in Th1 cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon (IFN)-γ, and Th2 cytokines, including IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10, secreted by terpenoid-treated splenocytes were measured using the ELISA method. The results showed that triptolide, a diterpenoid, was most cytotoxic, reflecting an IC50 value of 46 nM. Eucalyptol, limonene, linalool, thymol, parthenolide, andrographolide, 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, lupeol, ursolic acid and β-sitosterol showed a strong Th2-inclination and anti-inflammation potential in vitro. In addition, (−)-trans-caryophyllene, oridonin, triptolide, diosgenin, betulinic acid, escin, and β-sitosterol treatments significantly inhibited both IL-2 (Th1) and IL-10 (Th2) cytokine production at the same time, suggesting that these terpenoid compounds have an anti-inflammation potential through the inhibition of T-cell immune responses. Diosgenin treatments significantly increased IFN-γ secretion levels using mouse splenocytes, suggesting that diosgenin may be useful in treating a viral infection through the stimulation of IFN-γ production. Menthone, farnesol and oridonin treatments did not markedly increase IL-10/IL-2 (Th2/Th1) cytokine secretion ratios, suggesting that menthone, farnesol and oridonin may have a relative Th1-inclination property, compared to the other selected terpenoid compounds. The relative Th1-inclination property of menthone, farnesol and oridonin may be applied to improve Th2-skewed allergic diseases
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