Small amounts of artificial vanilla extract, also known as vanillin, are in a wide range of products, from baked goods to perfumes. But vanillin's versatility doesn't stop there. In a recent mouse study reported in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers report that this compound could also prevent or reduce psoriatic skin inflammation.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects about 125 million people worldwide, resulting in scaly red plaques that typically show up on the elbows, knees or scalp. Immune system proteins called interleukins (IL) 17 and 23 are known to be key players in the development of the condition. Interestingly, vanillin can have effects on different interleukins that are involved in other inflammatory conditions and diseases. So, Chien-Yun Hsiang and Tin-Yun Ho wanted to see if treatment with vanillin could prevent psoriatic symptoms.
The researchers induced psoriatic skin inflammation on groups of mice by putting a compound called imiquimod on their skin. In addition, the mice were orally given daily doses (0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 milligrams/kilograms of body weight) of vanillin for seven days. Mice treated with 50- or 100-milligram/kilograms of body weight doses had reduced psoriatic symptoms compared to those receiving smaller or no doses of vanillin. In all mice treated with vanillin, IL-17 and IL-23 protein levels were decreased. The researchers say that vanillin was an effective compound against psoriatic skin inflammation in this animal model.