Special Issue "Phytochemical Constituents of Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Chronic Inflammation"

A special issue of Biomolecules (ISSN 2218-273X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 31649

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Ki Sung Kang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Korean Medicine, Gachon University, Seongnam-si 13120, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
Interests: diabetic complications; NASH; IBD; toll like receptor signal pathway; innate immune
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Chronic inflammation increases the risk of several serious human diseases. Plant-derived phytochemicals have emerged as novel agents for protecting against chronic disorders. Owing to the diversity of phytochemicals, they cover a wide spectrum of therapeutic indications against cancer, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases and have been a productive source of lead compounds for the development of novel medications. An important direction for future investigation is to further optimize the basic experiments to predict clinical results. Combinatorial strategies which target multiple mechanisms, such as increasing anti-inflammatory efficacy and triggering a response of innate immune system, may offer the better chance for clinically meaningful prevention. This special issue aims to identify lead compounds for inflammation-related diseases through in-depth mechanism studies of medicinal plant components.

Dr. Ki Sung Kang
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Bioactive natural compounds
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Mucosal immune response
  • Intracellular signal pathways
  • Innate immune
  • Host-microbe interaction

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Phytochemical Constituents of Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Chronic Inflammation
Biomolecules 2021, 11(5), 672; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11050672 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
Chronic inflammation increases the risk of several serious human diseases [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Protective Effect of Osmundacetone against Neurological Cell Death Caused by Oxidative Glutamate Toxicity
Biomolecules 2021, 11(2), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11020328 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of brain cell death in neurological disorders. The use of natural antioxidants to maintain redox homeostasis contributes to alleviating neurodegeneration. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in many brain functions. However, [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of brain cell death in neurological disorders. The use of natural antioxidants to maintain redox homeostasis contributes to alleviating neurodegeneration. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in many brain functions. However, excessive glutamate release induces excitotoxicity and oxidative stress, leading to programmed cell death. Our study aimed to evaluate the effect of osmundacetone (OAC), isolated from Elsholtzia ciliata (Thunb.) Hylander, against glutamate-induced oxidative toxicity in HT22 hippocampal cells. The effect of OAC treatment on excess reactive oxygen species (ROS), intracellular calcium levels, chromatin condensation, apoptosis, and the expression level of oxidative stress-related proteins was evaluated. OAC showed a neuroprotective effect against glutamate toxicity at a concentration of 2 μM. By diminishing the accumulation of ROS, as well as stimulating the expression of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), OAC triggered the self-defense mechanism in neuronal cells. The anti-apoptotic effect of OAC was demonstrated through its inhibition of chromatin condensation, calcium accumulation, and reduction of apoptotic cells. OAC significantly suppressed the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and p38 kinases. Thus, OAC could be a potential agent for supportive treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
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Article
Phytochemical Constituents of Citrus hystrix DC. Leaves Attenuate Inflammation via NF-κB Signaling and NLRP3 Inflammasome Activity in Macrophages
Biomolecules 2021, 11(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11010105 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1545
Abstract
Citrus hystrix DC. (CH) is found in many countries in Southeast Asia. This plant has been reported for anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory bioactivities. However, the anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammasome properties of the leaves remain poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the effect of [...] Read more.
Citrus hystrix DC. (CH) is found in many countries in Southeast Asia. This plant has been reported for anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory bioactivities. However, the anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammasome properties of the leaves remain poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the effect of CH leaves on NLRP3 and NF-κB signaling pathways. CH leaves were sequentially extracted using hexane, ethyl acetate and 95% ethanol to give three crude extracts. An active compound, lupeol was fractionated from the ethanolic extract using chromatographic techniques, and its structure was identified and confirmed by spectroscopic methods. Anti-inflammatory activities were observed on both lipopolysaccharide-stimulated and NLRP3 adenosine triphosphate-induced macrophages. The release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α) was analyzed by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Real-time qRT-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to measure inflammatory-associated gene expression. NF-κB protein expressions were investigated using the immunoblotting technique. The active fraction of ethanolic CH leaves and lupeol significantly reduced the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and suppressed the expression of both inflammasome genes and NF-κB proteins. The ethanolic extract of CH leaves and lupeol showed potent anti-inflammatory activities by targeting NF-κB and NLRP3 signaling pathways. Full article
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Article
Preventive Effect of Muscone against Cisplatin Nephrotoxicity in LLC-PK1 Cells
Biomolecules 2020, 10(10), 1444; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101444 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1738
Abstract
Cisplatin, one of the most common antitumor agents, is widely applied to treat various cancerous diseases and is included in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. Cisplatin therapy is used to treat 10–20% of all cancerous cases, and its cure [...] Read more.
Cisplatin, one of the most common antitumor agents, is widely applied to treat various cancerous diseases and is included in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. Cisplatin therapy is used to treat 10–20% of all cancerous cases, and its cure rate is especially high in testicular cancer (over 90%). However, a major side effect of this anticancer drug is nephrotoxicity, limiting treatment effect and reducing the quality of life in cancer patients. Muscone, an odoriferous constituent of musk, was confirmed to inhibit cisplatin-induced LLC-PK1 kidney proximal tubule cell death in a dose-dependent manner. In term of renal protective mechanism, muscone inhibited cisplatin oxidative toxicity by decreasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and stimulating HO-1 expression. Muscone also exerted anti-inflammation effect through inhibition of p38 phosphorylation. Furthermore, muscone mitigated cisplatin-induced apoptosis in LLC-PK1 cells via both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways by inhibiting pro-apoptotic protein Bax expression, and cleaved caspase-3, 7, and 8; and increase of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 level. In addition, the anti-apoptotic effect of muscone also was enhanced by preventing p53 expression and its phosphorylation. Our study showed that muscone may be a potential protective agent against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Full article
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Article
Anti-Apoptotic and Antioxidant Effects of 3-Epi-Iso-Seco-Tanapartholide Isolated from Artemisia argyi against Iodixanol-Induced Kidney Epithelial Cell Death
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060867 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Iodixanol is a non-ionic iso-osmolar contrast agent, but it is a risk factor for kidney damage and increases morbidity and mortality. In this study, we investigated the effect of 9 sesquiterpenes isolated from mugwort (Artemisia argyi) in contrast agent-induced cytotoxicity in [...] Read more.
Iodixanol is a non-ionic iso-osmolar contrast agent, but it is a risk factor for kidney damage and increases morbidity and mortality. In this study, we investigated the effect of 9 sesquiterpenes isolated from mugwort (Artemisia argyi) in contrast agent-induced cytotoxicity in LLC-PK1 cells. Cells were exposed to nine sesquiterpene compounds for 2 h, followed by incubation with iodixanol for 3 h. Cell viability was assessed using the Ez-Cytox assay. The level of reactive oxygen species was measured using 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate staining. Apoptotic cell death was detected using annexin V/PI staining. In addition, immunofluorescence staining and western blotting were performed using antibodies against proteins related to apoptosis, oxidative stress, and MAPK pathways. The most effective 3-epi-iso-seco-tanapartholide (compound 8) among the 9 sesquiterpene compounds protected LLC-PK1 cells from iodixanol-induced cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, and apoptotic cell death. Pretreatment with compound 8 reversed iodixanol-induced increases in the expression of JNK, ERK, p38, Bax, caspase-3, and caspase-9. It also reversed the iodixanol-induced decrease in Bcl-2 expression. Furthermore, pretreatment with compound 8 caused nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and upregulated HO-1 via the Nrf2 pathway in iodixanol-treated LLC-PK1 cells. Thus, we demonstrated here that compound 8 isolated from A. argyi has the potential to effectively prevent iodixanol-induced kidney epithelial cell death via the caspase-3/MAPK pathways and HO-1 via the Nrf2 pathway. Full article
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Article
LOMIX, a Mixture of Flaxseed Linusorbs, Exerts Anti-Inflammatory Effects through Src and Syk in the NF-κB Pathway
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060859 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1639
Abstract
Although flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) has long been used as Ayurvedic medicine, its anti-inflammatory role is still unclear. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory role of a linusorb mixture (LOMIX) recovered from flaxseed oil. Effects of LOMIX on inflammation and its [...] Read more.
Although flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) has long been used as Ayurvedic medicine, its anti-inflammatory role is still unclear. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory role of a linusorb mixture (LOMIX) recovered from flaxseed oil. Effects of LOMIX on inflammation and its mechanism of action were examined using several in vitro assays (i.e., NO production, real-time PCR analysis, luciferase-reporter assay, Western blot analysis, and kinase assay) and in vivo analysis with animal inflammation models as well as acute toxicity test. Results: LOMIX inhibited NO production, cell shape change, and inflammatory gene expression in stimulated RAW264.7 cells through direct targeting of Src and Syk in the NF-κB pathway. In vivo study further showed that LOMIX alleviated symptoms of gastritis, colitis, and hepatitis in murine model systems. In accordance with in vitro results, the in vivo anti-inflammatory effects were mediated by inhibition of Src and Syk. LOMIX was neither cytotoxic nor did it cause acute toxicity in mice. In addition, it was found that LOB3, LOB2, and LOA2 are active components included in LOMIX, as assessed by NO assay. These in vitro and in vivo results suggest that LOMIX exerts an anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting the inflammatory responses of macrophages and ameliorating symptoms of inflammatory diseases without acute toxicity and is a promising anti-inflammatory medication for inflammatory diseases. Full article
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Article
Oral Administration of Liquiritigenin Confers Protection from Atopic Dermatitis through the Inhibition of T Cell Activation
Biomolecules 2020, 10(5), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10050786 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1293
Abstract
While liquiritigenin, isolated from Spatholobus suberectus Dunn, is known to possess anti-inflammatory activities, it still remains to be known whether liquiritigenin has a suppressive effect on T cell activation and T cell-mediated disease. Here, we used Jurkat T cells to explore an [...] Read more.
While liquiritigenin, isolated from Spatholobus suberectus Dunn, is known to possess anti-inflammatory activities, it still remains to be known whether liquiritigenin has a suppressive effect on T cell activation and T cell-mediated disease. Here, we used Jurkat T cells to explore an underlying mechanism of pre-treatment with liquiritigenin in activated T cell in vitro and used atopic dermatitis (AD) in vivo to confirm it. We found liquiritigenin blocks IL-2 and CD69 expression from activated T cells by PMA/A23187 or anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies. The expressions of surface molecules, including CD40L and CD25, were also reduced in activated T cells pre-treated with liquiritigenin. Western blot analysis indicated repressive effects by liquiritigenin are involved in NFκB and MAPK pathways. To assess the effects of liquiritigenin in vivo, an AD model was applied as T cell-mediated disease. Oral administration of liquiritigenin attenuates AD manifestations, including ear thickness, IgE level, and thicknesses of dermis and epidermis. Systemic protections by liquiritigenin were observed to be declined in size and weight of draining lymph nodes (dLNs) and expressions of effector cytokines from CD4+ T cells in dLNs. These results suggest liquiritigenin has an anti-atopic effect via control of T cell activation and exhibits therapeutic potential for T cell-mediated disorders. Full article
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Article
Sorbaria kirilowii Ethanol Extract Exerts Anti-Inflammatory Effects In Vitro and In Vivo by Targeting Src/Nuclear Factor (NF)-κB
Biomolecules 2020, 10(5), 741; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10050741 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1373
Abstract
Inflammation is a fundamental process for defending against foreign antigens that involves various transcriptional regulatory processes as well as molecular signaling pathways. Despite its protective roles in the human body, the activation of inflammation may also convey various diseases including autoimmune disease and [...] Read more.
Inflammation is a fundamental process for defending against foreign antigens that involves various transcriptional regulatory processes as well as molecular signaling pathways. Despite its protective roles in the human body, the activation of inflammation may also convey various diseases including autoimmune disease and cancer. Sorbaria kirilowii is a plant originating from Asia, with no anti-inflammatory activity reported. In this paper, we discovered an anti-inflammatory effect of S. kirilowii ethanol extract (Sk-EE) both in vivo and in vitro. In vitro effects of Sk-EE were determined with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 cells, while ex vivo analysis was performed using peritoneal macrophages of thioglycollate (TG)-induced mice. Sk-EE significantly reduced the nitric oxide (NO) production of induced macrophages and inhibited the expression of inflammation-related cytokines and the activation of transcription factors. Moreover, treatment with Sk-EE also decreased the activation of proteins involved in nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling cascade; among them, Src was a prime target of Sk-EE. For in vivo assessment of the anti-inflammatory effect of Sk-EE, HCl/EtOH was given by the oral route to mice for gastritis induction. Sk-EE injection dose-dependently reduced the inflammatory lesion area of the stomach in gastritis-induced mice. Taking these results together, Sk-EE exerts its anti-inflammatory activity by regulating intracellular NF-κB signaling pathways and also shows an authentic effect on reducing gastric inflammation. Full article
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Article
Anti-Atherosclerotic Activity of (3R)-5-Hydroxymellein from an Endophytic Fungus Neofusicoccum parvum JS-0968 Derived from Vitex rotundifolia through the Inhibition of Lipoproteins Oxidation and Foam Cell Formation
Biomolecules 2020, 10(5), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10050715 - 05 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
An endophytic fungus, Neofusicoccum parvum JS-0968, was isolated from a plant, Vitex rotundifolia. The chemical investigation of its cultures led to the isolation of a secondary metabolite, (3R)-5-hydroxymellein. It has been reported to have antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant activity, but [...] Read more.
An endophytic fungus, Neofusicoccum parvum JS-0968, was isolated from a plant, Vitex rotundifolia. The chemical investigation of its cultures led to the isolation of a secondary metabolite, (3R)-5-hydroxymellein. It has been reported to have antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant activity, but there have been no previous reports on the effects of (3R)-5-hydroxymellein on atherosclerosis. The oxidation of lipoproteins and foam cell formation have been known to be significant in the development of atherosclerosis. Therefore, we investigated the inhibitory effects of (3R)-5-hydroxymellein on atherosclerosis through low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) oxidation and macrophage foam cell formation. LDL and HDL oxidation were determined by measuring the production of conjugated dienes and malondialdehyde, the amount of hyperchromicity and carbonyl content, conformational changes, and anti-LDL oxidation. In addition, the inhibition of foam cell formation was measured by Oil red O staining. As a result, (3R)-5-hydroxymellein suppressed the oxidation of LDL and HDL through the inhibition of lipid peroxidation, the decrease of negative charges, the reduction of hyperchromicity and carbonyl contents, and the prevention of apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) aggregation and apoB-100 fragmentation. Furthermore, (3R)-5-hydroxymellein significantly reduced foam cell formation induced by oxidized LDL (oxLDL). Taken together, our data show that (3R)-5-hydroxymellein could be a potential preventive agent for atherosclerosis via obvious anti-LDL and HDL oxidation and the inhibition of foam cell formation. Full article
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Article
Src/NF-κB-Targeted Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Potentilla glabra var. Mandshurica (Maxim.) Hand.-Mazz. Ethanol Extract
Biomolecules 2020, 10(4), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10040648 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1268
Abstract
Inflammation is a complex protective response of body tissues to harmful stimuli. Acute inflammation can progress to chronic inflammation, which can lead to severe disease. Therefore, this research focuses on the development of anti-inflammatory drugs, and natural extracts have been explored as potential [...] Read more.
Inflammation is a complex protective response of body tissues to harmful stimuli. Acute inflammation can progress to chronic inflammation, which can lead to severe disease. Therefore, this research focuses on the development of anti-inflammatory drugs, and natural extracts have been explored as potential agents. No study has yet examined the inflammation-associated pharmacological activity of Potentilla glabra Var. mandshurica (Maxim.) Hand.-Mazz ethanol extract (Pg-EE). To examine the mechanisms by which Pg-EE exerts anti-inflammatory effects, we studied its activities in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated murine macrophage RAW264.7 cells and an HCl/EtOH-induced gastritis model. LPS-triggered nitric oxide (NO) release and mRNA levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) in RAW264.7 cells were suppressed by Pg-EE in a dose-dependent manner. Using a luciferase assay and western blot assay, we found that the NF-κB pathway was inhibited by Pg-EE, particularly by the decreased level of phosphorylated proteins of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) subunits (p65 and p50), inhibitor of kappa B alpha (IκBα), p85, and Src. Using an overexpression strategy, cellular thermal shift assay, and immunoprecipitation analysis, we determined that the anti-inflammatory effect of Pg-EE was mediated by the inhibition of Src. Pg-EE further showed anti-inflammatory effects in vivo in the HCl/EtOH-induced gastritis mouse model. In conclusion, Pg-EE exerts anti-inflammatory activities by targeting Src in the NF-κB pathway, and these results suggest that Pg-EE could be used as an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine. Full article
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Article
Anti-Inflammatory Functions of Alverine via Targeting Src in the NF-κB Pathway
Biomolecules 2020, 10(4), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10040611 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Alverine, a smooth muscle relaxant, is used to relieve cramps or spasms of the stomach and intestine. Although the effects of alverine on spontaneous and induced contractile activity are well known, its anti-inflammatory activity has not been fully evaluated. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Alverine, a smooth muscle relaxant, is used to relieve cramps or spasms of the stomach and intestine. Although the effects of alverine on spontaneous and induced contractile activity are well known, its anti-inflammatory activity has not been fully evaluated. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of alverine in vitro and in vivo. The production of nitric oxide (NO) in RAW264.7 cells activated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly (I:C)) was reduced by alverine. The mRNA expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was also dose-dependently inhibited by treatment with alverine. In reporter gene assays, alverine clearly decreased luciferase activity, mediated by the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) in TIR-domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-β (TRIF)- or MyD88-overexpressing HEK293 cells. Additionally, phosphorylation of NF-κB subunits and upstream signaling molecules, including p65, p50, AKT, IκBα, and Src was downregulated by 200 μM of alverine in LPS-treated RAW264.7 cells. Using immunoblotting and cellular thermal shift assays (CETSAs), Src was identified as the target of alverine in its anti-inflammatory response. In addition, HCl/EtOH-stimulated gastric ulcers in mice were ameliorated by alverine at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg. In conclusion, alverine reduced inflammatory responses by targeting Src in the NF-κB pathway, and these findings provide new insights into the development of anti-inflammatory drugs. Full article
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Article
Ranunculus bulumei Methanol Extract Exerts Anti-Inflammatory Activity by Targeting Src/Syk in NF-κB Signaling
Biomolecules 2020, 10(4), 546; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10040546 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
(1) Background: Ranunculus bulumei is a flowering plant that belongs to the Ranunculus species. Several Ranunculus species, such as R. aquatilis and R. muricatus, have traditionally been used to treat fever and rheumatism throughout Asia, suggesting that plants belonging to the Ranunculus [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Ranunculus bulumei is a flowering plant that belongs to the Ranunculus species. Several Ranunculus species, such as R. aquatilis and R. muricatus, have traditionally been used to treat fever and rheumatism throughout Asia, suggesting that plants belonging to the Ranunculus species may have anti-inflammatory effects. To our knowledge, the pharmacological activity of R. bulumei has not been reported. Therefore, in this study, we aim to assess the anti-inflammatory activity of a methanol extract that was derived from R. bulumei (Rb-ME) in macrophage-mediated inflammatory responses and to identify the molecular mechanism that underlies any anti-inflammatory action. (2) Methods: The anti-inflammatory efficacy of Rb-ME was evaluated while using in vitro and in vivo experiments. The RAW264.7 cells and peritoneal macrophages were stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In addition, LPS-induced peritonitis and HCl/EtOH-triggered gastritis models were produced. A nitric oxide (NO) assay, real-time PCR, luciferase reporter gene assay, western blot analysis, plasmid overexpression strategy, and in vitro kinase assay were used to determine the molecular mechanisms and target molecules of Rb-ME. The phytochemical active ingredients of Rb-ME were also identified by high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC). (3) Results: Rb-ME reduced the production of NO and mRNA expression of iNOS, COX-2, IL-1β, and IL-6 without cytotoxicity. The protein secretion of TNF-α and IL-6 was also decreased by Rb-ME. HPLC analysis indicates that quercetin, luteolin, and kaempferol are the main active ingredients in the anti-inflammatory efficacy of Rb-ME. Rb-ME also blocked MyD88-induced NF-κB promoter activity and nuclear translocation of NF-κB subunits (p65 and p50). Moreover, Rb-ME reduced the phosphorylation of IκBα, Akt, p85, Src, and Syk, which are NF-κB upstream signaling molecules in LPS-activated RAW264.7 cells. According to the in vitro kinase assay, Rb-ME directly inhibits Syk kinase activity. The oral administration of Rb-ME alleviated inflammatory responses and the levels of p-IκBα in mice with LPS-induced peritonitis and HCl/EtOH-induced gastritis. (4) Conclusions Rb-ME has anti-inflammatory capacity by suppressing NF-κB signaling and it has been found to target Src and Syk in the NF-κB pathway. Based on this efficacy, Rb-ME could be developed as an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine. Full article
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Article
Unusual Secondary Metabolites of the Aerial Parts of Dionysia diapensifolia Bioss. (Primulaceae) and Their Anti-Inflammatory Activity
Biomolecules 2020, 10(3), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10030438 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1244
Abstract
The genus Dionysia, belonging to the Primulaceae family, encompasses more than 50 species worldwide with a center of diversity located in the arid Irano-Turanian mountains. In this study, a phytochemical investigation of the aerial parts of D. diapensifolia Bioss. led to the [...] Read more.
The genus Dionysia, belonging to the Primulaceae family, encompasses more than 50 species worldwide with a center of diversity located in the arid Irano-Turanian mountains. In this study, a phytochemical investigation of the aerial parts of D. diapensifolia Bioss. led to the isolation of 24 phenolic compounds 17 and 925, and one sesquiterpenoid 8. Compound 1 was identified as new natural product, while isolation of 2 and 3, already known as synthetic products, from a natural source is reported for the first time in the present study. Isolation of compound 8 from a Dionysia species and indeed the whole Primulaceae family is reported for the first time too. Structure elucidation was performed by extensive spectroscopic analyses (1D-, 2D-NMR, and MS), and by comparison with reported literature data. Furthermore, DP4+ chemical shift probability calculations were performed to establish the relative configuration of compound 1. Additionally, subfractions obtained by liquid-liquid extraction of the methanolic extract of the plant, and subsequently the isolated new and selected known compounds 14, 6, 811 obtained from the diethyl ether subfraction were investigated for their inhibitory effect on NO release and iNOS and COX-2 expression in J774A.1 murine macrophages. The results showed a potential anti-inflammatory activity of the obtained subfractions, of which the diethyl ether subfraction was the most active one in inhibiting NO release and COX-2 expression (p < 0.001). Among the investigated isolated compounds, compound 4 significantly (p < 0.001) inhibited NO release and iNOS and COX-2 expression in a comparable manner like the used positive controls (L-NAME and indomethacin, respectively). Moreover, other isolated substances displayed moderate to high inhibitory activities, illustrating the potential anti-inflammatory activity of Dionysia diapensifolia. Full article
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Article
Effect of Herbal Formulation on Immune Response Enhancement in RAW 264.7 Macrophages
Biomolecules 2020, 10(3), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10030424 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1815
Abstract
Immune response is a necessary self-defense mechanism that protects the host from infectious organisms. Many medicinal plants are popularly used in Asian folk medicine to increase body resistance. An herbal formulation named KM1608 was prepared from three medicinal plants: Saussurea lappa, Terminalia [...] Read more.
Immune response is a necessary self-defense mechanism that protects the host from infectious organisms. Many medicinal plants are popularly used in Asian folk medicine to increase body resistance. An herbal formulation named KM1608 was prepared from three medicinal plants: Saussurea lappa, Terminalia chebula, and Zingiber officinale. In this study, we evaluated the immune stimulatory effect of KM1608 on RAW 264.7 murine macrophages. Network pharmacological analyses were used to predict potential immune response pathways of major compounds from KM1608. The cytotoxicity and immuno-stimulating effect of KM1608 were determined using cell viability and nitric oxide assays. The underlying mechanism of immunomodulatory activity was evaluated by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The results of network pharmacological analysis suggested that major compounds from KM1608 possess anticancer potential via immune signaling pathways. After treatment with KM1608 at 25–100 µg/mL for 24 h, the level of nitric oxide was increased in the dose-dependent manner. The results of quantitative real-time PCR showed that KM1608 stimulates the expression of immune cytokines (interferon (IFN)-α, -β, IL-1β, -6, IL-10, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)) in macrophages. KM1608 extract is a potential agent for immune response enhancement. Full article
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Article
Regulation of 8-Hydroxydaidzein in IRF3-Mediated Gene Expression in LPS-Stimulated Murine Macrophages
Biomolecules 2020, 10(2), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10020238 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1812
Abstract
Cytokines and chemokines are transcriptionally regulated by inflammatory transcription factors such as nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), activator protein-1 (AP-1), and interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-3. A daidzein derivative compound, 8-hydroxydaidzein (8-HD), isolated from soy products, has recently gained attention due to various pharmacological benefits, including [...] Read more.
Cytokines and chemokines are transcriptionally regulated by inflammatory transcription factors such as nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), activator protein-1 (AP-1), and interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-3. A daidzein derivative compound, 8-hydroxydaidzein (8-HD), isolated from soy products, has recently gained attention due to various pharmacological benefits, including anti-inflammatory activities. However, regulation of the inflammatory signaling mechanism for 8-HD is still poorly understood, particularly with respect to the IRF-3 signaling pathway. In this study, we explored the molecular mechanism of 8-HD in regulating inflammatory processes, with a focus on the IRF-3 signaling pathway using a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid [Poly (I:C)] stimulated murine macrophage cell line (RAW264.7). The 8-HD downregulated the mRNA expression level of IRF-3-dependent genes by inhibiting phosphorylation of the IRF-3 transcription factor. The inhibitory mechanism of 8-HD in the IRF-3 signaling pathway was shown to inhibit the kinase activity of IKKε to phosphorylate IRF-3. This compound can also interfere with the TRIF-mediated complex formation composed of TRAF3, TANK, and IKKε leading to downregulation of AKT phosphorylation and reduction of IRF-3 activation, resulted in inhibition of IRF-3-dependent expression of genes including IFN-β, C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10), and interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 1 (IFIT1). Therefore, these results strongly suggest that 8-HD can act as a promising compound with the regulatory function of IRF-3-mediated inflammatory responses. Full article
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Article
Neuroprotective γ-Pyrones from Fusarium Solani JS-0169: Cell-Based Identification of Active Compounds and an Informatics Approach to Predict the Mechanism of Action
Biomolecules 2020, 10(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10010091 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1263
Abstract
Glutamate toxicity has been implicated in neuronal cell death in both acute CNS injury and in chronic diseases. In our search for neuroprotective agents obtained from natural sources that inhibit glutamate toxicity, an endophytic fungus, Fusarium solani JS-0169 isolated from the leaves of [...] Read more.
Glutamate toxicity has been implicated in neuronal cell death in both acute CNS injury and in chronic diseases. In our search for neuroprotective agents obtained from natural sources that inhibit glutamate toxicity, an endophytic fungus, Fusarium solani JS-0169 isolated from the leaves of Morus alba, was found to show potent inhibitory activity. Chemical investigation of the cultures of the fungus JS-0169 afforded isolation of six compounds, including one new γ-pyrone (1), a known γ-pyrone, fusarester D (2), and four known naphthoquinones: karuquinone B (3), javanicin (4), solaniol (5), and fusarubin (6). To identify the protective effects of the isolated compounds (16), we assessed their inhibitory effect against glutamate-induced cytotoxicity in HT22 cells. Among the isolates, compound 6 showed significant neuroprotective activity on glutamate-mediated HT22 cell death. In addition, the informatics approach using in silico systems pharmacology identified that compound 6 may exert its neuroprotective effect by controlling the amount of ubiquinone. The results suggest that the metabolites produced by the endophyte Fusarium solani JS-0169 might be related to the neuroprotective activity of its host plant, M. alba. Full article
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Article
Anti-Atopic Effect of Acorn Shell Extract on Atopic Dermatitis-Like Lesions in Mice and Its Active Phytochemicals
Biomolecules 2020, 10(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10010057 - 29 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
To investigate the potential effects of acorn shells on atopic dermatitis (AD), we utilized oxazolone (OX)- or 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB)-induced AD-like lesion mouse models. Our research demonstrates that Acorn shell extract (ASE) improved the progression of AD-like lesions, including swelling, which were induced by [...] Read more.
To investigate the potential effects of acorn shells on atopic dermatitis (AD), we utilized oxazolone (OX)- or 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB)-induced AD-like lesion mouse models. Our research demonstrates that Acorn shell extract (ASE) improved the progression of AD-like lesions, including swelling, which were induced by oxazolone on Balb/c mouse ears. Additionally, ASE significantly decreased the ear thickness (OX: 0.42 ± 0.01 mm, OX-ASE: 0.32 ± 0.02 mm) and epidermal thickness (OX: 75.3 ± 32.6 µm, OX-ASE: 46.1 ± 13.4 µm). The continuous DNCB-induced AD mouse model in SKH-1 hairless mice demonstrated that ASE improved AD-like symptoms, including the recovery of skin barrier dysfunction, Immunoglobulin E hyperproduction (DNCB: 340.1 ± 66.8 ng/mL, DNCB-ASE: 234.8 ± 32.9 ng/mL) and an increase in epidermal thickness (DNCB: 96.4 ± 21.9 µm, DNCB-ASE: 52.4 ± 16.3 µm). In addition, we found that ASE suppressed the levels of AD-involved cytokines, such as Tumor Necrosis Factor α, IL-1β, IL-25 and IL-33 in both animal models. Furthermore, gallic acid and ellagic acid isolated from ASE suppressed β-hexosaminidase release and IL-4 expression in RBL-2H3 cells. The acorn shell and its active phytochemicals have potential as a new remedy for the improvement of atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory diseases. Full article
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Article
Protective Effect of Panaxynol Isolated from Panax vietnamensis against Cisplatin-Induced Renal Damage: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies
Biomolecules 2019, 9(12), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9120890 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1560
Abstract
Polyacetylenic compounds isolated from Panax species are comprised of non-polar C17 compounds, exhibiting anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antifungal activities. Panaxynol represents the major component of the essential oils of ginseng. We investigated whether panaxynol isolated from Panax vietnamensis (Vietnamese ginseng, VG) could prevent cisplatin-induced [...] Read more.
Polyacetylenic compounds isolated from Panax species are comprised of non-polar C17 compounds, exhibiting anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antifungal activities. Panaxynol represents the major component of the essential oils of ginseng. We investigated whether panaxynol isolated from Panax vietnamensis (Vietnamese ginseng, VG) could prevent cisplatin-induced renal damage induced in vitro and in vivo. Cisplatin-induced apoptotic cell death was observed by staining with annexin V conjugated with Alexa Fluor 488, and western blotting evaluated the molecular mechanism. Panaxynol at concentrations above 0.25 μM prevented cisplatin-induced LLC-PK1 porcine renal proximal tubular cell death. LLC-PK1 cells treated with cisplatin demonstrated an increase in apoptotic cell death, whereas pretreatment with 2 and 4 μM panaxynol decreased this effect. Cisplatin demonstrated a marked increase in the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), P38, and cleaved caspase-3. However, pretreatment with 2 and 4 μM panaxynol reversed the upregulated phosphorylation of JNK, P38, and the expression of cleaved caspase-3. We confirmed that the protective effect of panaxynol isolated from P. vietnamensis in LLC-PK1 cells was at least partially mediated by reducing the cisplatin-induced apoptotic damage. In the animal study, panaxynol treatment ameliorated body weight loss and blood renal function markers and downregulated the mRNA expression of inflammatory mediators. Full article
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Communication
Lobatamunsolides A–C, Norlignans from the Roots of Pueraria lobata and their Nitric Oxide Inhibitory Activities in Macrophages
Biomolecules 2019, 9(12), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9120755 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
Phytochemical investigation of the methanol (MeOH) extract of Pueraria lobata roots, known as “kudzu”, combined with liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS)-based analysis, resulted in the identification of four norlignans (14), including three new norlignans, lobatamunsolides A–C (13 [...] Read more.
Phytochemical investigation of the methanol (MeOH) extract of Pueraria lobata roots, known as “kudzu”, combined with liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS)-based analysis, resulted in the identification of four norlignans (14), including three new norlignans, lobatamunsolides A–C (13), and five known isoflavonoids (59). The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by a combination of spectroscopic methods, including 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and high resolution (HR)-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESIMS), and their absolute configurations were determined by chemical reaction and quantum chemical electronic circular dichroism (ECD) calculations. The isolated compounds (19) were evaluated for their inhibitory effects on nitric oxide (NO) production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Compound 9 displayed the strongest NO inhibitory effect and compound 2 showed a weak effect. The potential mechanism of the effect of compound 9 was investigated by analysis of its molecular docking on the active site of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), which showed the potential interactions of compound 9 with key amino acid residues and the heme cofactor of iNOS. The mechanism as the inhibition of transcriptional iNOS protein expression was confirmed by western blotting experiments. Full article
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Article
Anti-Atherosclerotic Effects of Fruits of Vitex rotundifolia and Their Isolated Compounds via Inhibition of Human LDL and HDL Oxidation
Biomolecules 2019, 9(11), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9110727 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) oxidation are well known to increase the risk for atherosclerosis. In our ongoing research on natural products with inhibitory activities against oxidation of lipoproteins, fruits of Vitex rotundifolia were found to be highly active. There is [...] Read more.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) oxidation are well known to increase the risk for atherosclerosis. In our ongoing research on natural products with inhibitory activities against oxidation of lipoproteins, fruits of Vitex rotundifolia were found to be highly active. There is no report on the effects on LDL and HDL oxidation. Herein, we investigated the inhibitory effects of V. rotundifolia fruit extract and its six compounds, which are: (1) artemetin, (2) casticin, (3) hesperidin, (4) luteolin, (5) vitexin, and (6) vanillic acid, against LDL and HDL oxidation. The LDL and HDL oxidations were determined by measuring production of conjugated dienes and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, amount of hyperchromicity and carbonyl content, change in electrical charge, and apoA-I aggregation. In addition, the contents of the compounds in the extracts were analyzed using HPLC-DAD. Consequently, extracts of Vitex rotundifolia fruits and compounds 2 and 4 suppressed oxidation of LDL and HDL, showing inhibition of lipid peroxidation, decrease of negative charges in lipoproteins, reduction of hyperchromicity, decrease in carbonyl contents, and prevention of apoA-I aggregation. In particular, compounds 2 and 4 exhibited more potent inhibitory effect on oxidation of LDL and HDL than the extracts, suggesting their protective role against atherosclerosis via inhibition of LDL and HDL oxidation. The contents of artemetin, casticin, and vanillic acid in the extracts were 1.838 ± 0.007, 8.629 ± 0.078, and 1.717 ± 0.006 mg/g, respectively. Full article
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Article
Chamaejasmine Isolated from Wikstroemia dolichantha Diels Suppresses 2,4-Dinitrofluoro-benzene-Induced Atopic Dermatitis in SKH-1 Hairless Mice
Biomolecules 2019, 9(11), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9110697 - 05 Nov 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
Plants of the genus Wikstroemia have long been used as traditional medicines to treat diseases like pneumonia, rheumatism, and bronchitis. This study was designed to determine the effect of chamaejasmine, a biflavonoid present in W. dolichantha, on atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin lesions [...] Read more.
Plants of the genus Wikstroemia have long been used as traditional medicines to treat diseases like pneumonia, rheumatism, and bronchitis. This study was designed to determine the effect of chamaejasmine, a biflavonoid present in W. dolichantha, on atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin lesions in a 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB)-induced murine model of AD. Initially, we examined the anti-allergic activities of ten flavonoids from W. dolichantha by measuring β-hexosaminidase release from RBL-2H3 cells. Subsequently, an SKH-1 hairless mouse model of AD was developed based on the topical application of DNCB. Chamaejasmine (0.5%) or pimecrolimus (1%, positive control) were applied to dorsal skins of DNCB-sensitized AD mice for two weeks. Serum IL-4 and IgE levels were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin hydration were measured using a Tewameter TM210 and a SKIN-O-MAT, respectively. Of the ten flavonoids isolated from W. dolichantha, chamaejasmine most potently inhibited DNP-specific IgE-induced degranulation in RBL-2H3 cells. Topical administration of chamaejasmine attenuated the clinical symptoms of DNCB-induced dermatitis (i.e., itching, dryness, erythema, and edema). Histological analyses demonstrated that dermal thickness and mast cell infiltration in dermis were significantly reduced by chamaejasmine. In addition, 0.5% chamaejasmine inhibited DNCB-induced increases in total IL-4 and IgE levels in serum, improved skin barrier function, and increased epidermis moisture. Our findings suggest chamaejasmine might be an effective therapeutic agent for the treatment of atopic diseases. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Review
The Interrelationships between Intestinal Permeability and Phlegm Syndrome and Therapeutic Potential of Some Medicinal Herbs
Biomolecules 2021, 11(2), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11020284 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has an intriguing and critical role beyond digestion in both modern and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as demonstrated by its link with the immune system. In this review, we attempted to explore the interrelationships between increased GI permeability [...] Read more.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has an intriguing and critical role beyond digestion in both modern and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as demonstrated by its link with the immune system. In this review, we attempted to explore the interrelationships between increased GI permeability and phlegm, an important pathological factor in CAM, syndrome, and therapeutic herbs for two disorders. The leaky gut and phlegm syndromes look considerably similar with respect to related symptoms, diseases, and suitable herbal treatment agents, including phytochemicals even though limitations to compare exist. Phlegm may be spread throughout the body along with other pathogens via the disruption of the GI barrier to cause several diseases sharing some parts of symptoms, diseases, and mechanisms with leaky gut syndrome. Both syndromes are related to inflammation and gut microbiota compositions. Well-designed future research should be conducted to verify the interrelationships for evidence based integrative medicine to contribute to the promotion of public health. In addition, systems biology approaches should be adopted to explore the complex synergistic effects of herbal medicine and phytochemicals on conditions associated with phlegm and leaky gut syndromes. Full article
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