Fritillariae thunbergii Bulbus (FT), knowns as “Jeolpaemo ()” in Korean traditional medicine, is a perennial plant belonging to the Liliaceae family and has been used to treat symptoms such as cough, sputum formation, and purulent pneumonia. Owing to its effects of lowering heat, removing sputum, and reducing swelling, the plant has also been used as an external prescription medicine to treat inflammation.
To analyze the anti-inflammatory effects of FT-ethanol extract (FT-Et) and FT-chloroform fraction extract (FT-Cl) on 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (DNCB)-induced atopic dermatitis (AD) in vivo and in vitro.
The effect of FT-Et and FT-Cl on AD was observed using an AD-like skin lesion model induced by DNCB in vivo. HaCaT and RBL2H3 cells were used to determine the effects of FT-Et and FT-Cl in vitro. After inducing AD-like skin lesions in vivo, FT was topically applied to the skin lesion for 35 days. Epidermal thickness, dermal thickness, scratching behavior, infiltration of inflammatory cells, and expression of skin barrier proteins were measured. TARC, MDC, and IL-4 levels were analyzed using ELISA in HaCaT cells. Beta-hexosaminidase and IL-4 levels were measured in RBL2H3 cells. The expression of filaggrin (FLG), loricrin (LOR), involucrin (INV), and aquaporin-3(AQP-3) was measured by PCR. Phosphorylation of MAPKs was analyzed using Western blot technique.
FT-Cl significantly reduced ear swelling, scratching behavior, SCORAD index, epidermal thickness, infiltration of inflammatory cells, and loss of skin barrier proteins. FT-Et inhibited the infiltration of mast cells and CD8 cells and decreased the loss of skin barrier proteins. In TNF-α/IFN-γ-stimulated HaCaT cells, FT-Cl inhibited TRAC, MDC, and IL-4 expression and upregulated the expression of FLG, INV, and AQP-3, whereas FT-Et inhibited the expression of TRAC and MDC and increased the expression of FLG, INV, and AQP-3 at high concentrations. In RBL2H3, FT-Cl downregulated β-hexosaminidase and IL-4 expression. In addition, FT-Cl inhibited the phosphorylation of ERK and p-38 in HaCaT and RBL2H3 cells.
Collectively, FT-Cl showed better effect than FT-Et in vivo and in vitro. These results suggest that a specific component present in FT-Cl acted against AD. Future research should focus on the analysis of components contained in FT-Cl and the anti-inflammatory effects of the active ingredient.

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