Plants of the genus Wikstroemia
are traditionally used to treat inflammatory diseases like bronchitis and rheumatoid arthritis. In the present study, the anti-atopic effects of an EtOH extract of Wikstroemia dolichantha
(WDE) on oxazolone- and DNCB (2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene)-induced dermatitis in mice were investigated. Both ears of BALB/c mice were exposed to oxazolone, and dorsal skins of SKH-1 hairless mice were sensitized with DNCB to induce acute eczematous atopic skin lesions. 1% WDE was applied daily to oxazolone- and DNCB-induced AD mice for two or three weeks, respectively. Total IL-4 and IgE concentrations in serum, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin hydration were assessed. High-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) was used to determine the composition of WDE. Dermal application of 1% WDE grossly and histopathologically improved oxazolone- and DNCB-induced AD skin symptoms. Epidermal thickness and mast cell infiltration were significantly lower in animals treated with WDE than in vehicle controls. Furthermore, in addition to reducing DNCB-induced increases in serum IL-4 (interleukin 4) and IgE (immunoglobulin E) levels, WDE also decreased TEWL and increased skin hydration (indicative of improved skin barrier function). The four flavonoids taxifolin, aromadendrin, padmatin and chamaejasmine were tentatively identified in WDE by HPLC-DAD/QTOF-MS. The above results show WDE protected against oxazolone- and DNCB-induced AD in mice by down-regulating the TH
2-associated cytokine IL-4 and improving skin barrier function and suggest WDE might be useful for the management of atopic dermatitis.
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