The anti-malarial artemisinin inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines via the NF-κB canonical signaling pathway in PMA-induced THP-1 monocytes. Int J Mol Med

Department of Cardiology, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, PR China.
International Journal of Molecular Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.09). 02/2011; 27(2):233-41. DOI: 10.3892/ijmm.2010.580
Source: PubMed


Several kinds of sesquiterpene lactones have been proven to inhibit NF-κB and to retard atherosclerosis by reducing lesion size and changing plaque composition. The anti-malarial artemisinin (Art) is a pure sesquiterpene lactone extracted from the Chinese herb Artemisia annua (qinghao, sweet wormwood). In the present study, we demonstrate that artemisinin inhibits the secretion and the mRNA levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1ß, and IL-6 in a dose-dependent manner in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-induced THP-1 human monocytes. We also found that the NF-κB specific inhibitor, Bay 11-7082, inhibited the expression of these pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that the NF-κB pathway may be involved in the decreased cytokine release. At all time-points (1-6 h), artemisinin impeded the phosphorylation of IKKα/ß, the phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα and the nuclear translocation of the NF-κB p65 subunit. Additionally, artemisinin inhibited the translocation of the NF-κB p65 subunit as demonstrated by confocal laser scanning microscopic analysis and by NF-κB binding assays. Our data indicate that artemisinin exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on PMA-induced THP-1 monocytes, suggesting the potential role of artemisinin in preventing the inflammatory progression of atherosclerosis.

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    • "In human rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes, artesunate, an artemisinin derivative, has the ability to inhibit TNF-α- induced production of proinflammatory cytokines via inhibition of NF-κB and PI3 kinase/Akt signal pathway [19]. Both in THP-1 and in RAW 264.7 macrophages, artemisinin and its derivatives inhibited pro-inflammatory cytokine production by NF-κB pathway [31], [32]. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, the role of artemisinin in LPS-activated microglia was investigated in this study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Microglial activation plays an important role in neuroinflammation, which contributes to neuronal damage, and inhibition of microglial activation may have therapeutic benefits that could alleviate the progression of neurodegeneration. Recent studies have indicated that the antimalarial agent artemisinin has the ability to inhibit NF-κB activation. In this study, the inhibitory effects of artemisinin on the production of proinflammatory mediators were investigated in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated primary microglia. Our results show that artemisinin significantly inhibited LPS-induced production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and nitric oxide (NO). Artemisinin significantly decreased both the mRNA and the protein levels of these pro-inflammatory cytokines and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and increased the protein levels of IκB-α, which forms a cytoplasmic inactive complex with the p65-p50 heterodimeric complex. Artemisinin treatment significantly inhibited basal and LPS-induced migration of BV-2 microglia. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed increased NF-κB binding activity in LPS-stimulated primary microglia, and this increase could be prevented by artemisinin. The inhibitory effects of artemisinin on LPS-stimulated microglia were blocked after IκB-α was silenced with IκB-α siRNA. Our results suggest that artemisinin is able to inhibit neuroinflammation by interfering with NF-κB signaling. The data provide direct evidence of the potential application of artemisinin for the treatment of neuroinflammatory diseases.
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