Background and Objective: Altered inflammatory response characterizes chronic immunemediated
inflammatory diseases (IMID) such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease,
multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and psoriasis. Accumulating evidence indicates that
regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet,
is associated with a reduced risk of developing chronic degenerative disorders such as cardiovascular
diseases, type 2 diabetes and cancer. The beneficial effects on health of EVOO have been attributed,
besides to the monounsaturated fats content, to the presence of phenolic compounds that have antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. The purpose of this review is to provide an
overview of the effects of EVOO polyphenols on IMID highlighting the potential mechanisms of action.
Methods: Scientific papers were found by searching in PubMed up to May 2017 using the following
key words: rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus
erythematosus, and psoriasis also in combination with EVOO, phenolic compounds, oleuropein, oleocantal,
hydroxytyrosol,tyrosol and oleochantal.
Results: In vitro and in vivo studies indicate that EVOO and its polyphenols can improve diseases
symptoms in IMID, by acting both at local and systemic levels and by modulating several molecular
pathways. Nevertheless, there are not sufficient data to achieve specific nutritional guidelines.
Conclusion: Further research is needed to evaluate the real contribution of EVOO and its phenolic
compounds in modulating the IMID-associated inflammatory perturbations, in order to develop appropriate