Planta Med 1998; 64(4): 314-318
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-957441
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Extract of Corn Silk (Stigma of Zea mays) Inhibits Tumour Necrosis Factor-α- and Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Cell Adhesion and ICAM-1 Expression

Solomon Habtemariam
  • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K.
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Publication Date:
04 January 2007 (online)


Treatment of human endothelial cells with cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF) or E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces the expression of several adhesion molecules and enhances leukocyte adhesion to endothelial cell surface. Interfering with this leukocyte adhesion or adhesion molecules upregulation is an important therapeutic target for the treatment of bacterial sepsis and various inflammatory diseases. In the course of screening marketed European anti-inflammatory herbal drugs for TNF antagonistic activity, a crude ethanolic extract of corn silk (stigma of Zea mays) exhibited significant activity. The extract at concentrations of 9-250 µg/ml effectively inhibited the TNF- and LPS-induced adhesiveness of EAhy 926 endothelial cells to monocytic U937 cells. Similar concentration ranges of corn silk extract did also block the TNF and LPS but not the phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced ICAM-1 expression on EAhy 926 endothelial cell surface. The extract did not alter the production of TNF by LPS-activated macro-phages and failed to inhibit the cytotoxic activity of TNF. It is concluded that corn silk possesses important therapeutic potential for TNF- and LPS-mediated leukocyte adhesion and trafficking.