Bilobalide, a sesquiterpene isolated from Ginkgo biloba, may serve as a therapeutic agent in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), according to a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 

IPF is characterized by alveolar damage, chronic inflammation, and the pathological remodeling of the extracellular matrix. As suggested by its name, the precise pathophysiology of this disease is unknown, despite rising cases across the globe. 

Ginkgo biloba is an ancient Chinese tree that has been traditionally used to treat a number of health conditions. Studies suggest it has reparative and anti-inflammatory properties. Bilobalide is a component extracted from the tree and has been used in a number of food and pharmaceutical supplements. Studies indicate it can be used to alleviate neurological and vascular injuries. 

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The study’s authors sought to investigate whether bilobalide has therapeutic applications in IPF. They conducted their study on male mice and randomly allocated them to the control group or groups treated with bleomycin (12 mice per group). Bleomycin is used in clinical settings to induce conditions similar to IPF. The research team split the bleomycin-induced group into 4 smaller groups that differed in the amount of bilobalide administered. 

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After 21 days, the mice were euthanized and their lung tissues were extracted and analyzed. The research team reported that structural lung tissue damage could be observed in bleomycin-induced mice; however, these injuries were ameliorated by bilobalide. They also found that scores of alveolitis and lung fibrosis in the bleomycin-induced mice were significantly alleviated with the administration of bilobalide. 

“The degree of alveolar inflammation and fibrosis and hydroxyproline content was remarkably reduced after [bilobalide] treatment, suggesting a significant protective effect of [bilobalide] on [bleomycin]-induced IPF mice,” the authors of the study concluded. 


Zhang X, Zhang W, Chen X, Cai Y. Prevention of bleomycin-induced pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis in mice by bilobalideEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2023;2023:1973163. doi:10.1155/2023/1973163