Several different pharmacological effects have been described for nigella sativa (Siah-Daneh), including an anti-inflammatory effect. In the present study, the effect of the extract of N. sativa on lung pathology and blood interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interferon-? (IFN-?) of sensitized guinea pigs was examined. Three groups (n=8 for each group) of guinea pigs sensitized to ovalbumin (OA) were given drinking water alone, and drinking water containing low and high concentrations of the plant extract, respectively. The animals of the control group (n=8) were treated with saline instead of OA and were given drinking water. The pathological changes of the lung, including infiltration of eosinophils and lymphocytes, local epithelial necrosis, the presence of oedema, thickening of the basement membrane, smooth muscle layer hypertrophy, mucosal secretion, and the presence of mucosal plug, and blood IL-4 and IFN-? of sensitized guinea pigs were evaluated. The lungs of the sensitized group showed significant pathological changes (P<0.001). Blood IL-4 and IFN-? were increased in sensitized animals compared to the controls (P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively). Treatment of sensitized animals with the extract led to a significant decrease in pathological changes of the lung (P<0.01 to P<0.001), except for the oedema in the sensitized group treated with low concentration of the extract, but an increased IFN-?. These results confirm a preventive effect of N. sativa extract on lung inflammation of sensitized guinea pigs.
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