The effects of Plantago major on the activation of the neutrophil respiratory burst

Elaine Reina, Nouf Al-Shibani, Eman Allam, Karen S. Gregson, Michael Kowolik, L. Jack Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Plantago major is a common plant that grows worldwide in temperate zones and is found in fields, lawns, and on the roadsides. Its leaves and seeds have been used in almost all parts of the world for centuries as a wound healer, analgesic, antioxidant, and antibiotic, as well as an immune system modulator, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. Baicalein and aucubin are the two most biologically active components of P. major, and both have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Neutrophils have a pivotal role in wound healing and inflammation. Their principal mechanism of host defense is the killing of pathogens via the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The aim of the present study was to determine the in vitro effects of P. major extract, baicalein, and aucubin on human neutrophil respiratory burst activity. The cytotoxicity of the agents was assessed by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assays. A standard luminol-dependent chemiluminescence (CL) assay was utilized to monitor the respiratory burst of the neutrophils after exposure to P. major extract and its two active ingredients, baicalein and aucubin. Three replicates per group were included in each of the three runs of the experiments and analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used for statistical analysis. P. major and baicalein were not toxic to the cells at any of the concentrations examined. Aucubin was toxic to the cells only at the highest concentration tested (P = 0.0081). However, genistein was toxic to the cells at all of the concentrations examined except for the lowest concentration of 16.9 μg/ml (P = 0.985). P. major (-0.10 0.11), aucubin (0.06 0.16), baicalein (-0.10 0.11), and genistein (-0.18 0.07) all significantly (P < 0.0001) inhibited ROS production from the neutrophils. P. major extract inhibited neutrophil ROS production, as did aucubin and baicalein. Therefore, these components should be investigated further with relation to the regulation of destructive ROS production in conditions such as periodontal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-272
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Aucubin
  • Baicalein
  • Neutrophil respiratory burst activity
  • Plantago major

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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