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Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 15, 2017   Issue 4,  Pages: 255–264

DOI: 10.1016/S2095-4964(17)60346-7
Homeopathic potencies of Arnica montana L. change gene expression in a Tamm-Horsfall protein-1 cell line in vitro model: the role of ethanol as a possible confounder and statistical bias
1. Salvatore Chirumbolo (Department of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy )
2. Geir Bj?rklund (Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 8610 Mo i Rana, Norway )


Marzotto et al. showed that homeopathic preparations of Arnica montana L. acted directly on gene expression of Tamm-Horsfall protein-1 (THP-1) monocyte/macrophage cell lines activated with phorbol12-myristate13-acetate and interleukin-4 (IL-4). A. montana homeopathic dilutions are used in complementary and alternative medicine to treat inflammation disorders and post-traumatic events as well as for wound repair. The French Pharmacopoeia of these remedies uses 0.3% ethanol in each centesimal dilution. In this paper, we discuss how ethanol-containing A. montana homeopathic centesimal dilutions can change gene expression in IL-4-treated monocyte/macrophage THP-1. We assessed the role of ethanol in the Arnica homeopathic dilutions containing this alcohol by investigating its action on gene expression of THP-1 cell. Evidence would strongly suggest that the presence of ethanol in these remedies might play a fundamental role in the dilutions ability to affect gene expression, particularly for doses from 5c to 15c. Where, rather than playing a major role in the mesoscopic structure of water, the ethanol might have a chemical-physical role in the induction of THP-1 gene expression, apoptosis, and deoxyribonucleic acid function. This evidence generates a debate about the suggestion that the use of a binary-mixed solvent in homeopathic chemistry, used by Hahnemann since 1810, may be fundamental to explain the activity of homeopathy on cell models.

Keywords: Arnica; homeopathy; bias; statistics; gene expression; Tamm-Horsfall protein; cell line

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Chirumbolo S, Bj?rklund G. Homeopathic potencies of Arnica montana L. change gene expression in a Tamm-Horsfall protein-1 cell line in vitro model: the role of ethanol as a possible confounder and statistical bias. J Integr Med. 2017; 15(4): 255–264.
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