The onset of oral candidiasis is accompanied by inflammatory symptoms such as pain in the tongue, edema or tissue damage and lowers the quality of life (QOL) of the patient. In a murine oral candidiasis model, the effects were studied of terpinen-4-ol (T-4-ol), one of the main constituents of tea tree oil, Melaleuca alternifolia, on inflammatory reactions. When immunosuppressed mice were orally infected with Candida albicans, their tongues showed inflammatory symptoms within 24 h after the infection, which was monitored by an increase of myeloperoxidase activity and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 in their tongue homogenates. Oral treatment with 50 µL of 40 mg/mL terpinen-4-ol 3h after the Candida infection clearly suppressed the increase of these inflammatory parameters. In vitro analysis of the effects of terpinen-4-ol on cytokine secretion of macrophages indicated that 800 µg/mL of this substance significantly inhibited the cytokine production of the macrophages cultured in the presence of heat-killed C. albicans cells. Based on these findings, the role of the anti-inflammatory action of T-4-ol in its therapeutic activity against oral candidiasis was discussed.
2013 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan