Planta Med 2002; 68(5): 385-391
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-32067
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Studies on the Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Phytopharmaceuticals Prepared from Arnica Flowers[1]

Christoph A. Klaas1 , Gerd Wagner2 , Stefan Laufer2 , Silvio Sosa3 , Roberto Della Loggia3 , Ulrich Bomme4 , Heike L. Pahl5 , Irmgard Merfort1
  • 1Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2Institute of Pharmacy, University of Tübingen, Germany
  • 3DEMREP, Università di Trieste, Italy
  • 4Bayerische Landesanstalt für Bodenkultur und Pflanzenbau, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany
  • 5Department of Experimental Anaesthesiology, University Hospital, Freiburg, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

June 27, 2001

October 7, 2001

Publication Date:
07 June 2002 (online)


Phytopharmaceuticals prepared from flowerheads of Arnica montana of Spanish origin and of the new type ”Arbo”, which can be easily and economically cultivated, were studied for their capability to impair activation of the transcription factors NF-κB and NF-AT. Both proteins are responsible for the transcription of genes encoding various inflammatory mediators. Additionally, their influence on the release of the cytokines IL-1 and TNF-α were examined. The inhibitory activities correlate with their quantitative and qualitative content of sesquiterpene lactones (Sls). Moreover, it was shown that the inhibitory potency of 11α,13-dihydrohelenalin derivatives being the main Sls in the Spanish flowers depend on their esterfication. Compounds with unsaturated acyl moieties, such as methacrylate and tiglinate, exhibited a stronger activity in the NF-κB EMSA as well as in the croton oil ear test in mice than the acetate derivative.


Arbo tincture:tincture prepared from Arnica flowerheads
type Arbo

AP-1:activator protein 1

BSA:bovine serum albumen

c.p.m.:counts per minute


EDTA:ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid

EGTA:ethylene glycol-bis(β-aminoethyl ether)-
N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid

EMSA:electrophoretic mobility shift assay

FCS:fetal calf serum

[2-ethanesulfonic acid]



NF-AT:nuclear factor of activated T cells

BPS:phosphate buffered saline

PMA:phorbol myristate acetate

PMSF:phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride

Poly (dI-dC):polydeoxyinosinicdeoxycytidylic acid,
double-stranded alternating copolymer

Spanish tincture:tincture prepared from Spanish Arnica

Sl:sesquiterpene lactone

TNF-α:tumor necrosis factor alpha

1 Partly presented at the 3rd International Congress on Phytomedicine, 2000, Munich, Germany.


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1 Partly presented at the 3rd International Congress on Phytomedicine, 2000, Munich, Germany.

Prof. Dr. Irmgard Merfort

Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology


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79104 Freiburg


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