‘Zhique’ (Citrus wilsonii Tanaka) is a traditional Chinese medicine. Its fruits have been used to treat inflammation-related symptoms, such as cough and sputum, though the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory properties of ‘Zhique’ pulp extract (ZQE) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages and primary mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs). The flavonoid profiles of the ZQE were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. The anti-inflammatory activity was evaluated in LPS-induced inflammatory RAW 264.7 macrophages and BMDCs through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot assays. Naringin was a predominant flavonoid occurring in ZQE, followed by eriocitrin, hesperidin, neohesperidin, rhoifolin, naringenin, and poncirin. ZQE exhibited a very low cytotoxicity in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Meanwhile, ZQE significantly inhibited the production of prostaglandins E2 and secretion of cyclooxygenase-2 protein in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages, and markedly suppressed the mRNA expression of inflammatory mediators, such as cyclooxygenase-2, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), and IL-6 in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages and/or primary BMDCs. The ZQE inhibited the inflammatory responses in RAW 264.7 macrophages and BMDCs triggered by LPS. The results suggested that ‘Zhique’ has a high potential as a novel therapeutic agent to treat chronic inflammatory diseases.
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