Background: Propolis is a resinous substance produced by bees and known to possess antioxidant,
antimicrobial, antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory activities.
Objective: This study is aimed at evaluating the in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory potential of the
crude ethanolic extract (CE) of Lebanese propolis and its ethyl acetate fraction (EAF).
Method: Chemical content of propolis was characterized using high-performance liquid chromatography
and LC-MS/MS. COX-2 and iNOS protein expression, nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin
(PGE2) release in LPS-activated RAW monocytes were achieved respectively by western blot and
spectrophotometry. Antioxidant activity was evaluated by DPPH free radical scavenging assay. Measurement
of paw thickness in carrageenan-induced paw edema in mice and pathologic assessment of inflammation
in paw sections were used to judge the anti-inflammatory properties of propolis.
Results: Pathology analysis revealed in the treated group significant reduction of immune cell infiltration
and edema. Both extract and ethyl acetate fraction showed significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
effects in LPS-treated RAW cells characterized by the inhibition of COX-2 and iNOS protein
expression, as well as PGE2 and NO release. Chemical analysis of the crude extract and its ethyl acetate
fraction identified 28 different compounds of which two phenolic acids and nine other flavonoids
were also quantified. Ferulic acid, caffeic acid, chrysin, galangin, quercetin, and pinocembrin were
among the most representative compounds.
Conclusion: Lebanese propolis is rich in a various amount of flavonoids which showed promising antiinflammatory
and antioxidant properties. Additionally, chemical analysis showed unique chemical
compositions with the potential of identifying ingredients with interesting anti-inflammatory activities.