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FEBS Lett. 2003 Aug 28;550(1-3):89-93.

Silymarin inhibits TNF-alpha-induced expression of adhesion molecules in human umbilical vein endothelial cells.

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Biopotency Evaluation Laboratory, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Taejon 305-333, South Korea.


Silymarin is known to have an anti-atherosclerotic activity, but the mechanism responsible for it remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate a possible mechanism involved in the anti-atherosclerotic activity of silymarin. Silymarin inhibited THP-1 cell adhesion to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Silymarin also suppressed the TNF-alpha-induced protein and mRNA expression of adhesion molecules, such as VCAM-1, ICAM-1 and E-selectin, in HUVECs. Moreover, silymarin suppressed the TNF-alpha-induced DNA binding of NF-kappaB/Rel in HUVECs. Taken together, these results demonstrate that silymarin exerts an anti-atherosclerotic activity, at least in part, by inhibiting the expression of adhesion molecules.

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