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Cryptolepis buchanani Roem. & Schult. (Asclepiadaceae), a climbing tree and commonly known as “Thao En On” in Thailand, is widely used in traditional folk medicine in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, the stem of this plant is traditionally used for the treatment of inflammation, including arthritis and muscle and joint pain. Alcoholic extract from stem of C. buchanani was found to possess anti-inflammatory activities in animal models. This study aimed to investigate the in vitro effects of C. buchanani extract on human neutrophil functional responsiveness in order to elucidate the underlying cellular mechanisms of its acute anti-inflammatory effects. Human neutrophil functional responsiveness was determined by measuring N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP)-induced chemotaxis, superoxide anion generation (SAG), and release of myeloperoxidase (MPO) and elastase. Apoptosis was assessed morphologically and by flow cytometry. Neutrophil viability was assessed by trypan blue exclusion and 2,3-bis-(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)- 2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide (XTT) cytotoxic assay. Although C. buchanani extract did not affect neutrophil viability and apoptosis, treatment of neutrophils with the herbal extract concentration-dependently inhibited fMLP-induced chemotaxis, SAG, and MPO release. In addition, neutrophil apoptosis was slightly stimulated by the herbal extract. In conclusion, these findings suggest that the anti-inflammatory property of C. buchanani extract is mediated, in part, by inhibition of neutrophil functional responsiveness. The results lend support to the effectiveness of C. buchanani in combating inflammation. However, further investigations are required to fully identify the biologically active compound(s) of C. buchanani and to define the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of action involved.
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