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Immune-Stimulatory Effects of Althaea rosea Flower Extracts through the MAPK Signaling Pathway in RAW264.7 Cells

Department of Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Chungju, Chungbuk 27478, Korea
Nokyong Research Center, Konkuk University, Chungju, Chungbuk 27478, Korea
Division of Food and Bio Science, Konkuk University, Chungju 27478, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dong-Kug Choi, Palanivel Ganesan and Derek J. McPhee
Molecules 2017, 22(5), 679;
Received: 8 March 2017 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 25 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Chronic Diseases)
PDF [2607 KB, uploaded 25 April 2017]


Althaea rosea (Linn.) is a medicinal plant from China and Korea that has been traditionally used to control inflammation, to stop bedwetting and as a mouthwash in cases of bleeding gums. Its flowers are employed medicinally for their emollient, demulcent and diuretic properties, which make them useful in chest complaints. Furthermore, a flower extract decoction is used to improve blood circulation, for the treatment of constipation, dysmenorrhoea, haemorrhages, etc. However, the possible mechanisms of the immune-stimulatory effect remains to be elucidated. Therefore, we investigated the role of Althaea rosea flower (ARF) extracts in the immune-stimulatory effect of macrophages and the underlying mechanisms of action. ARF water extract (ARFW) could dose-dependently increase NO production and cytokines (IL-6 and TNF-α). We also found that ARFW significantly increased the expression of iNOS and COX-2 proteins in RAW264.7 cells. Consistent with these results, MAPK protein (JNK, ERK, p38) expression levels were induced after treatment with ARFW. Additionally, ARFW showed a marked increase in the phosphorylation level of IκBα and subsequent IκBα degradation allowing NF-κB nuclear translocation. These results suggest that the immune-stimulatory effect of A. rosea flower extracts is mediated through the translocation of NF-κB p65 subunit into the nucleus from the cytoplasm and subsequent activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and TNF-α) and other mediators (iNOS and COX-2), which occurs mainly through MAPK signalling pathway. Thus, we suggest that ARFW could be considered as a potential therapeutic agent useful in the development of immune-stimulatory compounds. View Full-Text
Keywords: Althaea rosea; RAW264.7 cells; immune-stimulatory effect Althaea rosea; RAW264.7 cells; immune-stimulatory effect

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Kim, Y.-S.; Kim, E.-K.; Nawarathna, W.P.A.S.; Dong, X.; Shin, W.-B.; Park, J.-S.; Moon, S.-H.; Park, P.-J. Immune-Stimulatory Effects of Althaea rosea Flower Extracts through the MAPK Signaling Pathway in RAW264.7 Cells. Molecules 2017, 22, 679.

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