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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Frontiers in Immunology, Volume 9, Issue AUG, August 2018, Article number 1807, published first in Frontiers Media.

The published version is available at Copyright © Li et al.


Medicinal plants as a rich pool for developing novel small molecule therapeutic medicine have been used for thousands of years. Carnosol as a bioactive diterpene compound originated from Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) and Salvia officinalis, herbs extensively applied in traditional medicine for the treatment of multiple autoimmune diseases (1). In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effects and molecule mechanism of carnosol in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Carnosol treatment significantly alleviated clinical development in the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG35–55) peptide-induced EAE model, markedly decreased inflammatory cell infiltration into the central nervous system and reduced demyelination. Further, carnosol inhibited Th17 cell differentiation and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation, and blocked transcription factor NF-κB nuclear translocation. In the passive-EAE model, carnosol treatment also significantly prevented Th17 cell pathogenicity. Moreover, carnosol exerted its therapeutic effects in the chronic stage of EAE, and, remarkably, switched the phenotypes of infiltrated macrophage/microglia. Taken together, our results show that carnosol has enormous potential for development as a therapeutic agent for autoimmune diseases such as MS.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.