Sur1, R., Martin1, K., Liebel1, F., Lyte1, P., Shapiro1, S., and Southall2, M. 1Preclinical Pharmacology, Johnson and Johnson Skin Research Center, CPPW, a unit of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., Skillman, NJ. 2Johnson & Johnson Consumer & Personal Products Worldwide, Skillman, NJ.

This study by researchers at Johnson and Johnson demonstrated that MatTek’s EpiDerm in vitro 3-D human skin tissue equivalent can be used to measure the effectiveness of a new topical formulation to inhibit TPA-induced release of PGE2 (Prostaglandin E2). Extracts of Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Sch. Bip., a plant known under the common name “Feverfew”, contains the sesquiterpene lactone parthenolide, a potent skin sensitizer. To eliminate the risk of skin sensitization from Feverfew, J&J scientists developed a parthenolide-depleted extract of Feverfew (PD-Feverfew) and determined its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory agent. Scientists confirmed that PD-Feverfew was sufficiently depleted of parthenolide since PD-Feverfew did not inhibit TNF-a induced-NF-kappaB activity unlike parthenolide containing whole Feverfew. PD-Feverfew directly inhibited the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes 5-lipoxygenase, phosphodiesterase-3 and phosphodiesterase-4. PD-Feverfew inhibited the release of pro-inflammatory mediators nitric oxide, PGE2 and TNF-a from macrophages and TNF-a, IL-2, IFN-gamma and IL-4 from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Additionally, PD-Feverfew inhibited TPA-induced release of PGE2 from human skin equivalents (EpiDerm EPI-200-HCF, MatTek Corp.). In vivo, PD-Feverfew inhibited oxazolone-induced dermatitis, and was more potent than whole Feverfew in reducing TPA-induced dermatitis. Finally the efficacy of PD-Feverfew was confirmed clinically by a reduction in erythema in a methyl nicotinate-induced vasodilation model. In conclusion, these results indicate that PD-Feverfew extracts have potent anti-inflammatory activity suggesting that this botanical would be efficacious in relieving inflammation without inducing immune sensitization.


Anti-inflammatory, Cytokine, EPI-200-HCF, EpiDerm, Feverfew, Flavonoids, Inflammation, PGE2, Parthenolide

Materials Tested

70% ethanol/30% propylene glycol, Feverfew, Phorol myristate acetate (TPA), Tanacetum parthenium

Request a copy of this paper, click here.