Aloe vera downregulates LPS-induced inflammatory cytokine production and expression of NLRP3 inflammasome in human macrophages

Marietta M Budai, Aliz Varga, Sándor Milesz, József Tőzsér, Szilvia Benkő
Molecular Immunology 2013, 56 (4): 471-9
Aloe vera has been used in traditional herbal medicine as an immunomodulatory agent inducing anti-inflammatory effects. However, its role on the IL-1β inflammatory cytokine production has not been studied. IL-1β production is strictly regulated both at transcriptional and posttranslational levels through the activity of Nlrp3 inflammasome. In this study we aimed to determine the effect of Aloe vera on the molecular mechanisms of Nlrp3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β production in LPS-activated human THP-1 cells and monocyte-derived macrophages. Our results show that Aloe vera significantly reduced IL-8, TNFα, IL-6 and IL-1β cytokine production in a dose dependent manner. The inhibitory effect was substantially more pronounced in the primary cells. We found that Aloe vera inhibited the expression of pro-IL-1β, Nlrp3, caspase-1 as well as that of the P2X7 receptor in the LPS-induced primary macrophages. Furthermore, LPS-induced activation of signaling pathways like NF-κB, p38, JNK and ERK were inhibited by Aloe vera in these cells. Altogether, we show for the first time that Aloe vera-mediated strong reduction of IL-1β appears to be the consequence of the reduced expression of both pro-IL-1β as well as Nlrp3 inflammasome components via suppressing specific signal transduction pathways. Furthermore, we show that the expression of the ATP sensor P2X7 receptor is also downregulated by Aloe vera that could also contribute to the attenuated IL-1β cytokine secretion. These results may provide a new therapeutic approach to regulate inflammasome-mediated responses.

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