Early stages of atherosclerosis are characterizated for the uptake of oxidate low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) by inflammatory macrophages in the arteries, promoting the foam cell formation. Drimys winteri is a native tree of Chile that produce drimane sesquiterpenoids, here it was evaluated the inhibitory foam cell formation by the total extract of barks of Drimys winteri and isodrimeninol, a sesquiterpenoid isolated from the tree. The results showed that Dw and isodrimeninol inhibited the foam cell formation on macrophage M1, by Oil Red O staining. Moreover, Dw reduced the gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α, in contrast to isodrimeninol that showed not effect on the gene expression of this cytokine, also Dw enhanced the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, in more significant manner than isodrimeninol at 20 μg/mL. While, Dw and isodrimeninol significanly reduced the expression of IL1-β at concentrations of 20 μg/mL, but not affecting the MMP-9 levels, assessed by RT-qPCR. In conclusion, Drimys winteri and isodrimeninol induce anti-atherosclerotic effects, inhibiting foam cell formation, as well as promoting anti-inflammatory responses. This study confirm the relevance of this tree as a medicinal source for the Mapuche people, and suggesting that Drimys winteri could be used in early stages of atherosclerosis.
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