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Eur J Pharmacol. 2009 Jan 14;602(2-3):413-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.11.011. Epub 2008 Nov 13.

Andrographolide reduces IL-2 production in T-cells by interfering with NFAT and MAPK activation.

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  • 1Faculty of Veterinary Science, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.


The nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) is a transcription factor essential for cytokine production during T-cell activation and is the target of several immunosuppressive drugs. Andrographolide is a diterpenic labdane that possesses anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Several studies propose that andrographolide can reduce the immune response through inhibition of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) such as extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathways. Moreover, andrographolide reduces IFN-gamma and IL-2 production induced by concanavalin A in murine T-cell. Nevertheless, the mechanisms involved in the decrease of cytokine production are unknown. In the present study, we determined that andrographolide reduced IL-2 production in Jurkat cells stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin (PMA/Ionomycin). We then showed that andrographolide reduced NFAT luciferase activity and interfered with its nuclear distribution, with these effects being linked to an increase in c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation. Additionally, reduction of NF-kappaB activity in Jurkat cells treated with andrographolide was observed. Using Western blotting, we demonstrated that andrographolide decreased ERK1 and ERK5 phosphorylation induced by anti-CD3 or PMA/Ionomycin. Andrographolide did not affect cell viability at concentration of 10 and 50 muM; however, our results suggest that andrographolide increase early apoptosis at 100 muM. We concluded that andrographolide can exert immunomodulatory effects by interfering with NFAT activation and ERK1 and ERK5 phosphorylation in T-cells.

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