p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) is a protein kinase critically involved in the progress of inflammation/stress-associated diseases. Our data suggested that javamide analogues may contain strong anti-inflammation activities, but there is little information about their effects on p38 MAPK. Therefore, in this paper, the effects of thirty javamide analogues on p38 MAPK were investigated using in silico screening and in vitro p38 MAPK assay methods. The javamide analogues were synthesized and their chemical structures were confirmed using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic methods. Then, the javamide analogues were screened using an in silico modeling program. The screened analogues demonstrated a wide range of binding energy (ΔE; −20 to −39) and several analogues with ΔE; −34 to −39 showed strong binding affinity to p38 MAPK. In vitro p38 MAPK assay, the kinase was significantly inhibited by the analogues with great binding energy (ΔE; −34 to −39) and in silico scores (Avg. score; −27.5 to −29.3). Furthermore, the comparative analysis of both assays showed a positive correlation between the in silico scores and p38 MAPK inhibition. In fact, the javamide analogues with top five in silico scores (Avg. score; −27.5 to −29.3) were found to inhibit p38 MAPK by 27–31% (p
< 0.05) better than those with less scores (ΔE < −27.0). Especially, javamide-II-O
-ethyl ester with relatively high in silico score (Avg. score; −29.2) inhibited p38 MAPK (IC50
= 9.9 μM) a little better than its methyl ester with best in silico score (Avg. score; −29.3). To support the ability to inhibit p38 MAPK, the treatment of javamide-II-ethyl and -methyl esters could suppress the production of IL-8 and MCP-1 protein significantly by 22–73% (p
< 0.05) in the differentiated THP-1 cells, and the inhibition was slightly stronger by the ethyl ester than the methyl ester. Altogether, this study suggests that javamide-II-O
-ethyl ester may be a most potent p38 MAPK inhibitor among the tested compounds and the combining in silico and in vitro assay approach may be a useful and efficient solution as a functional screening approach in searching new lead compounds for targeted molecules.
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