The Gastroprotective Effect of Menthol: Involvement of Anti-Apoptotic, Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities
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The aim of this research was to investigate the anti-apoptotic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of menthol against ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats. Wistar rats were orally treated with vehicle, carbenoxolone (100 mg/kg) or menthol (50 mg/kg) and then treated with ethanol to induce gastric ulcers. After euthanasia, stomach samples were prepared for histological slides and biochemical analyses. Immunohistochemical analyses of the cytoprotective and anti-apoptotic heat-shock protein-70 (HSP-70) and the apoptotic Bax protein were performed. The neutrophils were manually counted. The activity of the myeloperoxidase (MPO) was measured. To determine the level of antioxidant functions, the levels of glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), glutathione reductase (GR) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured using ELISA. The levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) were assessed using ELISA kits. The menthol treated group presented 92% gastroprotection compared to the vehicle-treated group. An increased immunolabeled area was observed for HSP-70, and a decreased immunolabeled area was observed for the Bax protein in the menthol treated group. Menthol treatment induced a decrease in the activity of MPO and SOD, and the protein levels of GSH, GSH-Px and GR were increased. There was also a decrease in the levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 and an increase in the level of IL-10. In conclusion, oral treatment with menthol displayed a gastroprotective activity through anti-apoptotic, antixidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.