Shea butter is traditionally used in Africa for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. In this study we explored the anti-inflammatory activities of the methanolic extract of shea butter (SBE) using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced murine macrophage cell line J774. It was observed that SBE significantly reduced the levels of LPS-induced nitric oxide, Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukins, 1β (IL-1β), and -12 (IL-12) in the culture supernatants in a dose dependent manner. Expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were also inhibited by SBE. These anti-inflammatory effects were due to an inhibitory action of SBE on LPS-induced iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-12 mRNA expressions. Moreover, SBE efficiently suppressed IκBα phosphorylation and NF-κB nuclear translocation induced by LPS. These findings explain the molecular bases of shea butter’s bioactivity against various inflammatory conditions and substantiate it as a latent source of novel therapeutic agents.
©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston