2018 Volume 67 Issue 4 Pages 471-477
Emu is the second-largest extant bird native to Australia. Emu oil, obtained from the emu’s fat deposits, is used as an ingredient in cosmetic skincare products. Emu oil has been reported to improve several inflammatory symptoms; however, the mechanisms of these anti-inflammatory effects are largely unknown. This study investigated the effects of emu oil on the inflammatory macrophage response in vitro. A murine macrophage cell line, RAW 264, was incubated in culture media supplemented with or without emu oil and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We determined phagocytic activity by measuring the number of fluorescent microspheres taken up by the cells. The phagocytic activity of RAW 264 cells in the presence of LPS was unaffected by emu oil. We also determined production of nitric oxide (NO) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in the culture medium using the Griess reaction and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively, and the protein expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) using western blotting. The results indicated that emu oil reduced the LPS-induced production of NO, TNF-α, and iNOS expression in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggested that emu oil does not reduce the phagocytic clearance rate of inflammatory matter; however, it does reduce the production of NO and TNF-α in macrophages. These latter products enhance the inflammatory response and emu oil thereby demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.