Anti-inflammatory activity of 4-methoxyhonokiol is a function of the inhibition of iNOS and COX-2 expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages via NF-kappaB, JNK and p38 MAPK inactivation

Hong Yu Zhou, Eun Myoung Shin, Lian Yu Guo, Ui Joung Youn, KiHwan Bae, Sam Sik Kang, Li Bo Zou, Yeong Shik Kim
European Journal of Pharmacology 2008 May 31, 586 (1): 340-9
The extracts or constituents from the bark of Magnolia (M.) obovata are known to have many pharmacological activities. 4-Methoxyhonokiol, a neolignan compound isolated from the stem bark of M. obovata, was found to exhibit a potent anti-inflammatory effect in different experimental models. Pretreatment with 4-methoxyhonokiol (i.p.) dose-dependently inhibited the dye leakage and paw swelling in an acetic-acid-induced vascular permeability assay and a carrageenan-induced paw edema assay in mice, respectively. In the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced systemic inflammation model, 4-methoxyhonokiol significantly inhibited plasma nitric oxide (NO) release in mice. To identify the mechanisms underlying this anti-inflammatory action, we investigated the effect of 4-methoxyhonokiol on LPS-induced responses in a murine macrophage cell line, RAW 264.7. The results demonstrated that 4-methoxyhonokiol significantly inhibited LPS-induced NO production as well as the protein and mRNA expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Furthermore, 4-methoxyhonokiol inhibited LPS-mediated nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation via the prevention of inhibitor kappaB (IkappaB) phosphorylation and degradation. 4-Methoxyhonokiol had no effect on the LPS-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), whereas it attenuated the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) in a concentration-dependent manner. Taken together, our data suggest that 4-methoxyhonokiol is an active anti-inflammatory constituent of the bark of M. obovata, and that its anti-inflammatory property might be a function of the inhibition of iNOS and COX-2 expression via down-regulation of the JNK and p38 MAP kinase signal pathways and inhibition of NF-kappaB activation in RAW 264.7 macrophages.

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