Reprogramming of arachidonic acid metabolism using α-terpineol to alleviate asthma: insights from metabolomics


Food Funct. 2024 Mar 25. doi: 10.1039/d3fo04078j. Online ahead of print.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder in airways with typical pathologic features of airway inflammation and mucus hypersecretion. α-Terpineol is a monocyclic terpene found in many natural plants and foods. It has been reported to possess a wide range of pharmacological activities including anti-inflammatory and expectorant effects. However, the role of α-terpineol in asthma and its potential protective mechanism have not been well elucidated. This study is designed to investigate the pharmacological effect and mechanism of α-terpineol on asthmatic mice using the metabolomics platform. A murine model of asthma was established using ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization and then challenged for one week. The leukocyte count and inflammatory cytokines in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), lung histopathology, inflammatory infiltrate and mucus secretion were evaluated. An ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS)-based metabolomics study was performed on lung tissues and serum to explore endogenous small molecule metabolites affected by α-terpineol in asthmatic mice. After α-terpineol treatment, leukocyte count, inflammatory cytokines in the BALF, and peribronchial inflammation infiltration were significantly downregulated. Goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus secretion were attenuated, with the level of Muc5ac in BALF decreased. These results proved the protective effect of α-terpineol against airway inflammation, mucus hypersecretion and Th1/Th2 immune imbalance. To further investigate the underlying mechanisms of α-terpineol in asthma treatment, UPLC-MS/MS-based metabolomics analysis was performed. 26 and 15 identified significant differential metabolites were found in the lung tissues and serum of the control, model and α-terpineol groups, respectively. Based on the above differential metabolites, enrichment analysis showed that arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism was reprogrammed in both mouse lung tissues and serum. 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and cysteinyl leukotrienes (CysLTs) are the key enzyme and the end product of AA metabolism, respectively. In-depth studies have shown that pretreatment with α-terpineol can alleviate asthma by decreasing the AA level, downregulating the expression of 5-LOX and reducing the accumulation of CysLTs in mouse lung tissues. In summary, this study demonstrates that α-terpineol is a potential agent that can prevent asthma via regulating disordered AA metabolism.

PMID:38526853 | DOI:10.1039/d3fo04078j