To promote the proper use of herbal medicine and to determine their potential as sources for new drugs, it is essential to study medicinal plants, which have a folkloristic reputation in a more intensified way. Citrullus colocynthis (CCT) is used in Iranian traditional medicine as a healing agent for reducing obesity-related diabetes troubles. We proposed that CCT may perform its effects through inhibition of inflammatory cytokines secreted in obesity conditions. Control group was fed with normal diet (N-D) for 42 days alone or plus 50 mg/kg hydro-alcoholic (H-A) extract of CCT. The obese mice were given high fat diet (H-F-D) for 42 days alone or plus CCT extract. Food intake and body weight were recorded each week and expression of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-10 in serum were assayed by ELISA technique after every two weeks. CCT extract reduced body weight by 4.02% (ns-p> 0.05) and food intake by 3.52% (ns-p> 0.05), but dramatically decreased expression of TNF-α 44.83(***p< 0.001), IL-6 30.23(***p< 0.001) and marginally increased IL-10 5.31 (ns-p> 0.05) in obese mice. This study demonstrated that, although CCT extract did not show anti-obesity effects, it could have an anti-inflammatory effect through down regulation of obesity-associated pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Key words: Citrullus colocynthis, inflammatory cytokines, obesity, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10.
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