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Potential pathway of anti-inflammatory effect by New Zealand honeys

Authors Tomblin V, Ferguson L, Han DY, Murray P, Schlothauer R

Received 27 March 2013

Accepted for publication 9 November 2013

Published 5 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 149—158


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Victoria Tomblin,1 Lynnette R Ferguson,1 Dug Yeo Han,1 Pamela Murray,1 Ralf Schlothauer2

1Discipline of Nutrition, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; 2Comvita New Zealand Ltd, Paengaroa, New Zealand

Abstract: The role of honey in wound healing continues to attract worldwide attention. This study examines the anti-inflammatory effect of four honeys on wound healing, to gauge its efficacy as a treatment option. Isolated phenolics and crude extracts from manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), kanuka (Kunzea ericoides), clover (Trifolium spp.), and a manuka/kanuka blend of honeys were examined. Anti-inflammatory assays were conducted in HEK-Blue™-2, HEK-Blue™-4, and nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)2-Wild Type (NOD2-WT) cell lines, to assess the extent to which honey treatment impacts on the inflammatory response and whether the effect was pathway-specific. Kanuka honey, and to a lesser extent manuka honey, produced a powerful anti-inflammatory effect related to their phenolic content. The effect was observed in HEK-Blue™-2 cells using the synthetic tripalmitoylated lipopeptide Pam3CysSerLys4 (Pam3CSK4) ligand, suggesting that honey acts specifically through the toll-like receptor (TLR)1/TLR2 signaling pathway. The manuka/kanuka blend and clover honeys had no significant anti-inflammatory effect in any cell line. The research found that kanuka and manuka honeys have an important role in modulating the inflammatory response associated with wound healing, through a pathway-specific effect. The phenolic content of honey correlates with its effectiveness, although the specific compounds involved remain to be determined.

Keywords: Leptospermum scoparium, manuka, Kunzea ericoides, kanuka, Trifolium, clover, inflammatory response, phenolics, wound healing

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