Sesame oil has been used in traditional Taiwanese medicine to relieve the inflammatory pain in people with joint inflammation, toothache, scrapes, and cuts. However, scientific evidence related to the effectiveness or action mechanism of sesame oil on relief of pain and inflammation has not been examined experimentally. Here, we investigated the therapeutic effect of sesame oil on monosodium urate monohydrate (MSU) crystal-induced acute inflammatory response in rats. Air pouch, a pseudosynovial cavity, was established by injecting 24 mL of filtered sterile air subcutaneously in the backs of the rats. At day 0, inflammation in air pouch was induced by injecting MSU crystal (5 mg/rat, suspended in sterilized phosphate buffered saline, pH 7.4), while sesame oil (0, 1, 2, or 4 mL/kg, orally) was given 6 h after MSU crystal injection. Parameters in lavage and skin tissue from the air pouches were assessed 6 h after sesame oil was given. Sesame oil decreased MSU crystal-induced total cell counts, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6 levels in lavage and pouch tissue. Sesame oil significantly decreased leukocyte and neutrophil counts in lavage compared with MSU crystal alone group. Sesame oil decreased activated mast cell counts in skin tissue in MSU crystal-treated rats. Sesame oil significantly decreased nuclear factor (NF)-κB activity and IL-4 level in isolated mast cells from rats treated with MSU crystal. Furthermore, sesame oil decreased lavage complement proteins C3a and C5a levels in MSU crystal-treated rats. In conclusion, sesame oil shows a potent therapeutic effect against MSU crystal-induced acute inflammatory response in rats.
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