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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5 (2008), Issue 1, Pages 61-69
Original Article

Oral Bromelain Attenuates Inflammation in an Ovalbumin-Induced Murine Model of Asthma

1Department of Immunology, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA
3University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave, MC1319, Farmington, CT 06030, USA

Received 27 July 2006; Accepted 4 December 2006

Copyright © 2008 Eric R. Secor Jr et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bromelain, a widely used pineapple extract with cysteine protease activity, has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects in a variety of immune system models. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of orally administered bromelain in an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced murine model of acute allergic airway disease (AAD). To establish AAD, female C57BL/6J mice were sensitized with intraperitoneal (i.p.) OVA/alum and then challenged with OVA aerosols for 3 days. Mice were gavaged with either (phosphate buffered saline)PBS or 200 mg/kg bromelain in PBS, twice daily for four consecutive days, beginning 1 day prior to OVA aerosol challenge. Airway reactivity and methacholine sensitivity, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cellular differential, Th2 cytokines IL-5 and IL-13, and lung histology were compared between treatment groups. Oral bromelain-treatment of AAD mice demonstrated therapeutic efficacy as evidenced by decreased methacholine sensitivity (P ≤ 0.01), reduction in BAL eosinophils (P ≤ 0.02) and IL-13 concentrations (P ≤ 0.04) as compared with PBS controls. In addition, oral bromelain significantly reduced BAL CD19+ B cells (P ≤ 0.0001) and CD8+ T cells (P ≤ 0.0001) in AAD mice when compared with controls. These results suggest that oral treatment with bromelain had a beneficial therapeutic effect in this murine model of asthma and bromelain may also be effective in human conditions.