Original article| Volume 70, 104471, February 2023

Effect of Carvacrol on histological analysis and expression of genes involved in an animal model of multiple sclerosis

Published:December 16, 2022DOI:



      The most common non-traumatic neurological disease in young- and middle-aged adults is multiple sclerosis (MS), leading to central nervous system (CNS) atrophy and neurological disorders with loss of myelin and axonal degeneration. Due to the inadequate efficiency of common treatments, some natural products with antioxidant properties such as Carvacrol have been considered.


      the present study aimed to investigate carvacrol's anti-inflammatory and therapeutic effects on MS symptoms in healthy and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced female Lewis rats.


      The study was performed in three groups of Lewis rats: control group, EAE model, and EAE treated with carvacrol (carvacrol-treated group). The treatment group received 25 mg/kg of carvacrol intraperitoneally daily. Histologic examination and expression analysis of pro-inflammatory genes (Interleukin-1 and 17 (IL-1 and IL-17), Nuclear Factor Kappa B Cells (NF-κB) and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNF-α)), myelin repair, and also regeneration genes (Myelin basic protein (MBP), Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2 (OLIG2) and Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptor α (PDGFR-α)) were carried out. Gene studies, Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E), and Luxol fast blue stain were performed in the lumbar region of the spinal cord.


      The EAE clinical scores in the carvacrol-treated group were lower than in untreated rats (P < 0.001). The expression of two genes, IL-17 and MBP, was confirmed using fluorescence immunohistochemistry (FIHC). A significant decrease was observed in NF-κB and IL-17, and IL-1 gene expression. The MBP and OLIG2 gene expression was increased in the carvacrol-treated group (p < 0.001). In EAE, PDGFR-α expression increased about four times. However, carvacrol administration did not affect PDGFR-α and TNF-α gene expression. In this treatment, H&E staining of spinal cord regions showed a significant decrease in inflammatory cell infiltration. Moreover, immunostaining analysis demonstrated a considerable increase in MBP and a reduction in IL-17 secretion.


      The results showed that carvacrol administration reduces the entry of inflammatory cells into the CNS by stimulating myelination-related processes employing increasing the expression of genes involved in myelin repair and reducing the expression of inflammatory genes. Our findings confirm that carvacrol improves the clinical and pathological symptoms of EAE through its therapeutic and modification properties as a potential adjunctive therapy and needs to be studied more.


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