Artemisinin inhibits monocyte adhesion to HUVECs through the NF-κB and MAPK pathways in vitro

Yue Wang, Jiatian Cao, Yuqi Fan, Yushui Xie, Zuojun Xu, Zhaofang Yin, Lin Gao, Changqian Wang
International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2016, 37 (6): 1567-75
The adhesion of monocytes to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) plays a crucial role in the initiation of atherosclerosis. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) are two important molecules involved in the adhesion of monocytes to HUVECs. Previous studies have suggested that artemisinin, apart from an anti-malarial agent, also has other effects. In the present study, we found that artemisinin significantly decreased the adhesion of monocytes to tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-stimulated HUVECs in a dose-dependent manner and suppressed the mRNA and protein level of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in the TNF-α-stimulated HUVECs. In addition, the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) inhibitor, Bay 11-7082, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors (SB203580 and U0126) respectively reduced the adhesion of monocytes to TNF-α-stimulated HUVECs, and suppressed ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression in TNF-α stimulated HUVECs. Moreover, artemisinin impeded the activation of the NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways. Furthermore, Bay 11-7082 significantly decreased the phosphorylation of levels extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK)1/2, p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Taken together, the findings of our study indicated that artemisinin blocked monocyte adhesion to TNF-α-stimulated to HUVECs by downregulating ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression in the TNF-α-stimulated HUVECs. Artemisinin may thus have potential for use in the protection against the early development of atherosclerotic lesions.

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