Identification of Human Cathepsin G As a Functional Target of Boswellic Acids from the Anti-Inflammatory Remedy Frankincense

Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 08/2009; 183(5):3433-42. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0803574
Source: PubMed


Frankincense preparations, used in folk medicine to cure inflammatory diseases, showed anti-inflammatory effectiveness in animal models and clinical trials. Boswellic acids (BAs) constitute major pharmacological principles of frankincense, but their targets and the underlying molecular modes of action are still unclear. Using a BA-affinity Sepharose matrix, a 26-kDa protein was selectively precipitated from human neutrophils and identified as the lysosomal protease cathepsin G (catG) by mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) and by immunological analysis. In rigid automated molecular docking experiments BAs tightly bound to the active center of catG, occupying the same part of the binding site as the synthetic catG inhibitor JNJ-10311795 (2-[3-[methyl[1-(2-naphthoyl)piperidin-4-yl]amino]carbonyl)-2-naphthyl]-1-(1-naphthyl)-2-oxoethylphosphonic acid). BAs potently suppressed the proteolytic activity of catG (IC(50) of approximately 600 nM) in a competitive and reversible manner. Related serine proteases were significantly less sensitive against BAs (leukocyte elastase, chymotrypsin, proteinase-3) or not affected (tryptase, chymase). BAs inhibited chemoinvasion but not chemotaxis of challenged neutrophils, and they suppressed Ca(2+) mobilization in human platelets induced by isolated catG or by catG released from activated neutrophils. Finally, oral administration of defined frankincense extracts significantly reduced catG activities in human blood ex vivo vs placebo. In conclusion, we show that catG is a functional and pharmacologically relevant target of BAs, and interference with catG could explain some of the anti-inflammatory properties of frankincense.

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    • "This result was not unexpected, since both T1D and RA are leukocyte-mediated diseases. In a clinical trial, oral administration of frankincense extract inhibited CatG activity in human blood indicating anti-inflammatory properties of this extract [37]. We speculate that the reduction of CatG activity by a natural substance without any side effects, for instance, oral intake/inhaling frankincense, might be beneficial to prevent T1D. "
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    ABSTRACT: Autoantigenic peptides resulting from self-proteins such as proinsulin are important players in the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). Self-proteins can be processed by cathepsins (Cats) within endocytic compartments and loaded to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules for CD4(+) T cell inspection. However, the processing and presentation of proinsulin by antigen-presenting cells (APC) in humans is only partially understood. Here we demonstrate that the processing of proinsulin by B cell or myeloid dendritic cell (mDC1)-derived lysosomal cathepsins resulted in several proinsulin-derived intermediates. These intermediates were similar to those obtained using purified CatG and, to a lesser extent, CatD, S, and V in vitro. Some of these intermediates polarized T cell activation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from T1D patients indicative for naturally processed T cell epitopes. Furthermore, CatG activity was found to be elevated in PBMC from T1D patients and abrogation of CatG activity resulted in functional inhibition of proinsulin-reactive T cells. Our data suggested the notion that CatG plays a critical role in proinsulin processing and is important in the activation process of diabetogenic T cells.
    PLoS ONE 08/2011; 6(8):e22815. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022815 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Cathepsin G was isolated and the activity of Cathepsin G was measured as described previously [9,10]. In brief, neutrophils were suspended in PBS, sonicated trice and centrifugated at 600 × g for 10 min. "
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    ABSTRACT: Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an early characteristic of multiple organ dysfunction, responsible for high mortality and poor prognosis in patients. The present study aims to evaluate therapeutic effects and mechanisms of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) on ALI. Alveolar-arterial oxygen difference, lung tissue edema and compromise, NF-κB activation in polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN), and systemic levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFa) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in rabbits induced by the intravenous administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and treated with PDTC. Production of TNFa and IL-8, activation of Cathepsin G, and PMNs adhesion were also measured. The intravenous administration of PDTC had partial therapeutic effects on endotoxemia-induced lung tissue edema and damage, neutrophil influx to the lung, alveolar-capillary barrier dysfunction, and high systemic levels of TNFa and ICAM-1 as well as over-activation of NF-κB. PDTC could directly and partially inhibit LPS-induced TNFa hyper-production and over-activities of Cathepsin G. Such inhibitory effects of PDTC were related to the various stimuli and enhanced through combination with PI3K inhibitor. NF-κB signal pathway could be one of targeting molecules and the combination with other signal pathway inhibitors may be an alternative of therapeutic strategies for ALI/ARDS.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 05/2011; 9(1):61. DOI:10.1186/1479-5876-9-61 · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    • "However, in vivo studies confirming the pharmacological relevance of these proposed target interactions are still missing, and the efficacy of defined BAs in in vivo models of inflammation remains to be assessed. Recently, we showed that the serine protease cathepsin G is a high affinity and pharmacologically relevant target of BAs (Tausch et al., 2009). Prostaglandins (PGs) are important lipid mediators derived from arachidonic acid (AA) that control not only numerous physiological events such as blood pressure, blood clotting and sleep, but also inflammation (Funk, 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Frankincense, the gum resin derived from Boswellia species, showed anti-inflammatory efficacy in animal models and in pilot clinical studies. Boswellic acids (BAs) are assumed to be responsible for these effects but their anti-inflammatory efficacy in vivo and their molecular modes of action are incompletely understood. A protein fishing approach using immobilized BA and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy were used to reveal microsomal prostaglandin E(2) synthase-1 (mPGES1) as a BA-interacting protein. Cell-free and cell-based assays were applied to confirm the functional interference of BAs with mPGES1. Carrageenan-induced mouse paw oedema and rat pleurisy models were utilized to demonstrate the efficacy of defined BAs in vivo. Human mPGES1 from A549 cells or in vitro-translated human enzyme selectively bound to BA affinity matrices and SPR spectroscopy confirmed these interactions. BAs reversibly suppressed the transformation of prostaglandin (PG)H(2) to PGE(2) mediated by mPGES1 (IC(50) = 3-10 µM). Also, in intact A549 cells, BAs selectively inhibited PGE(2) generation and, in human whole blood, β-BA reduced lipopolysaccharide-induced PGE(2) biosynthesis without affecting formation of the COX-derived metabolites 6-keto PGF(1α) and thromboxane B(2) . Intraperitoneal or oral administration of β-BA (1 mg·kg(-1) ) suppressed rat pleurisy, accompanied by impaired levels of PGE(2) and β-BA (1 mg·kg(-1) , given i.p.) also reduced mouse paw oedema, both induced by carrageenan. Suppression of PGE(2) formation by BAs via interference with mPGES1 contribute to the anti-inflammatory effectiveness of BAs and of frankincense, and may constitute a biochemical basis for their anti-inflammatory properties.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 01/2011; 162(1):147-62. DOI:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01020.x · 4.84 Impact Factor
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