Prandelli C, Parola C, Buizza L, Delbarba A, Marziano M, Salvi V, Zacchi V, Memo M, Sozzani S, Calza S, Uberti D, Bosisio D.
Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.
The beneficial effects of hot springs have been known for centuries and treatments with sulphurous thermal waters are recommended in a number of chronic pathologies as well as acute recurrent infections. However, the positive effects of the therapy are often evaluated in terms of subjective sense of wellbeing and symptomatic clinical improvements. Here, the effects of an S-based compound (NaSH) and of a specific sulphurous thermal water characterized by additional ions such as sodium chloride, bromine and iodine (STW) were investigated in terms of cytokine release and anti-oxidant enzyme activity in primary human monocytes and in saliva from 50 airway disease patients subjected to thermal treatments. In vitro, NaSH efficiently blocked the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and counterbalanced the formation of ROS. Despite STW not recapitulating these results, possibly due to the low concentration of S-based compounds reached at the minimum non-toxic dilution, we found that it enhanced the release of IL-10, a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine. Notably, higher levels of IL-10 were also observed in patients saliva following STW treatment and this increase correlated positively with salivary catalase activity (r2 = 0.19, *p less than 0.01). To our knowledge, these results represent the first evidence suggesting that S-based compounds and STW may prove useful in facing chronic inflammatory and age-related illness due to combined anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.