Background: Propolis, an ancient herbal medicine, has been reported the beneficial effect both in asthma patients and murine model of asthma, but the mechanism was not clearly understood. In this study, the effect of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), the most extensively studied components in propolis, on the functions of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) was investigated. Results: CAPE significantly inhibited IL-12 p40, IL-12 p70, IL-10 protein expression in mature healthy human MoDCs stimulated by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and IL-12 p40, IL-10, IP-10 stimulated by crude mite extract. CAPE significantly inhibited IL-10 and IP-10 but not IL-12 expression in allergic patients' MoDCs stimulated by crude mite extract. In contrast, the upregulation of costimulatory molecules in mature MoDCs was not suppressed by CAPE. Further, the antigen presenting ability of DCs was not inhibited by CAPE. CAPE inhibited IκBα phosphorylation and NF-κB activation but not mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family phosphorylation in human MoDCs. Conclusion: These results indicated that CAPE inhibited cytokine and chemokine production by MoDCs which might be related to the NF-κB signaling pathway. This study provided a new insight into the mechanism of CAPE in immune response and the rationale for propolis in the treatment of asthma and other allergic disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas