Aloe-emodin from rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory responses in RAW264.7 macrophages.J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 May 14; 153(3):846-53.JE
Rheum rhabarbarum (rhubarb) has long been used for the treatment of inflammation in China and other Asian countries. However, the mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory activity of this medicinal plant is not fully understood. The present study was designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of anthraquinones, the major constituents in rhubarb, and the molecular mechanism involved in their anti-inflammatory effects.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
RAW264.7 cells were stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the presence or absence of the compounds examined. The proliferation of RAW264.7 cells was assayed by the Alamar-Blue method. The quantity of nitric oxide (NO) was determined by Griess assay. The expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and quantitative real-time PCR. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), inhibitor of nuclear factor κBα (IκBα), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), and Akt/phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) protein expression levels were determined by Western blotting.
Aloe-emodin markedly suppressed the production of NO, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells with no apparent cytotoxicity. The mRNA expression levels of iNOS, IL-6, and IL-1β genes were also significantly inhibited by aloe-emodin. Western blot analysis showed that aloe-emodin suppressed LPS-induced iNOS protein expression, IκBα degradation, and the phosphorylation of ERK, p38, JNK, and Akt.
These results demonstrate that aloe-emodin is the bioactive component of rhubarb that confers an anti-inflammatory effect through a likely mechanism involving a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokine production in LPS-induced RAW264.7 macrophages via inhibition of NF-κB, MAPK, and PI3K pathways.