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Effects of Litchi chinensis fruit isolates on prostaglandin E2 and nitric oxide production in J774 murine macrophage cells

Yang Zhou, Hong Wang, Ruili Yang, Hui Huang, Yuanming Sun*, Yudong Shen, Hongtao Lei and Hong Gao

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Guangdong Provincial Key laboratory of Food Quality and Safety, College of Food Science, South China Agricultural University, Wushan Road, Guangzhou 510642, China

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Citation and License

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:12  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-12

Published: 1 March 2012



Litchi chinensis is regarded as one of the 'heating' fruits in China, which causes serious inflammation symptoms to people.


In the current study, the effects of isolates of litchi on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO) production in J774 murine macrophage cells were investigated.


The AcOEt extract (EAE) of litchi was found effective on stimulating PGE2 production, and three compounds, benzyl alcohol, hydrobenzoin and 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfurolaldehyde (5-HMF), were isolated and identified from the EAE. Benzyl alcohol caused markedly increase in PGE2 and NO production, compared with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as positive control, and in a dose-dependent manner. Hydrobenzoin and 5-HMF were found in litchi for the first time, and both of them stimulated PGE2 and NO production moderately in a dose-dependent manner. Besides, regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA expression and NF-κB (p50) activation might be involved in mechanism of the stimulative process.


The study showed, some short molecular compounds in litchi play inflammatory effects on human.