Potentiation of macrophage activity by thymol through augmenting phagocytosis

Anil Kumar Chauhan, Rekha Jakhar, Souren Paul, Sun Chul Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The potent role of thymol, a natural compound, in modulation of macrophage activity was evaluated by determining all the sequential steps involved during phagocytosis. We found a significant increase in the proliferation of splenocytes in the presence of thymol and it proved to be a good mitogen. Uptake capacity of macrophages was enhanced due to increased membrane fluidity after treatment with thymol and it also increases lysosomal activity of macrophages. Data of superoxide anion generation revealed the involvement of thymol in the generation of respiratory burst as it potentiated this property of macrophages at a concentration of 150 μM. In the case of TNF-α, IL-1ß and PGE2 a decreased level of secretion was observed 154 ρg/ml, 736.1 ρg/ml, and 151 ρg/ml respectively when compared with lipopolysaccharide treated cells, where the level of these cytokines was significantly high. We also determined the anti-complementary activity of thymol which showed to be more effective than rosmarinic acid. Thus, the results obtained from the study suggest the potential role of thymol as a natural immunostimulatory drug which can be used in the treatment of various immunological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-346
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Daegu University Research Grant, 2010 .


  • Cytokine analysis
  • Membrane fluidity
  • Phagocytosis
  • Superoxide anions
  • Thymol


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