The antimalarial artemisinin synergizes with antibiotics to protect against lethal live Escherichia coli challenge by decreasing proinflammatory cytokine release.

Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, The Third Military Medical University, Gaotanyan Street 30, Shapingba District, Chongqing 400038, People's Republic of China.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (Impact Factor: 4.57). 08/2006; 50(7):2420-7. DOI: 10.1128/AAC.01066-05
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the present study artemisinin (ART) was found to have potent anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of sepsis induced by CpG-containing oligodeoxy-nucleotides (CpG ODN), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), heat-killed Escherichia coli 35218 or live E. coli. Furthermore, we found that ART protected mice from a lethal challenge by CpG ODN, LPS, or heat-killed E. coli in a dose-dependent manner and that the protection was related to a reduction in serum tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). More significantly, the administration of ART together with ampicillin or unasyn (a complex of ampicillin and sulbactam) decreased mortality from 100 to 66.7% or 33.3%, respectively, in mice subjected to a lethal live E. coli challenge. Together with the observation that ART alone does not inhibit bacterial growth, this result suggests that ART protection is achieved as a result of its anti-inflammatory activity rather than an antimicrobial effect. In RAW264.7 cells, pretreatment with ART potently inhibited TNF-alpha and interleukin-6 release induced by CpG ODN, LPS, or heat-killed E. coli in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Experiments utilizing affinity sensor technology revealed no direct binding of ART with CpG ODN or LPS. Flow cytometry further showed that ART did not alter binding of CpG ODN to cell surfaces or the internalization of CpG ODN. In addition, upregulated levels of TLR9 and TLR4 mRNA were not attenuated by ART treatment. ART treatment did, however, block the NF-kappaB activation induced by CpG ODN, LPS, or heat-killed E. coli. These findings provide compelling evidence that ART may be an important potential drug for sepsis treatment.

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    ABSTRACT: Background: In addition to recognized antimalarial effects, Artemisia annua L. (Qinghao) possesses anticancer properties. The underlying mechanisms of this activity are unknown. The aim of our experiments was to investigate the effects of distinct types of compounds isolated from A. annua on the immune-activated production of major mediators of angiogenesis playing a crucial role in growth of tumors and formation of metastasis. Methods: Included in the study were the sesquiterpene lactones artemisinin and its biogenetic precursors arteannuin B and artemisinic acid. The semi-synthetic analogue dihydroartemisinin was used for comparative purposes. The flavonoids were represented by casticin and chrysosplenol D, the coumarin type of compounds by 4-methylesculetin. Their effects on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced in vitro production of nitric oxide (NO) were analyzed in rat peritoneal cells using Griess reagent. The LPS-activated production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and cytokines (VEGF, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α) was determined in both rat peritoneal cells and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells using ELISA. Results: All sesquiterpenes (artemisinin, dihydroartemisinin, artemisinic acid, arteannuin B) significantly reduced production of PGE2. Arteannuin B also inhibited production of NO and secretion of cytokines. All NO, PGE2 and cytokines were suppressed by flavonoids casticin and chrysosplenol D. The coumarin derivative, 4-methylesculetin, was ineffective to change the production of any of these factors. Conclusions: The inhibition of immune mediators of angiogenesis by sesquiterpene lactones and flavonoids may be one of the mechanisms of anticancer activity of Artemisia annua L.
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