Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) essential oil significantly inhibits vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and impacts genome-wide gene expression in human dermal fibroblasts
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) essential oil (CEO) is popular in skin care, although no studies have reported its biological activity in human skin cells. We studied its effect on 17 protein biomarkers closely related to inflammation, immune responses, and tissue remodeling using a dermal fibroblast cell culture system designed to model chronic inflammation. CEO significantly inhibited the proliferation of skin cells and the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and macrophage colonystimulating factor (M-CSF). The CEO-induced inhibition of the production of these protein biomarkers suggests its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potential, which has been largely attributed to its major active component, eucalyptol. We further studied the effect of CEO on the expression of 21,224 genes in the same cell culture system. Ingenuity pathway analysis showed that CEO affected critical genes and signaling pathways closely involved in inflammation, immune responses, and tissue remodeling. The observed overall CEO-induced inhibition of these genes and pathways supports its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. This study provides important evidence of the biological activity of CEO in human skin cells. Further research into the mechanism of action of CEO in human skin and other systems is recommended.