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Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Aug 15;475(1-3):19-27.

The anti-inflammatory effect of honokiol on neutrophils: mechanisms in the inhibition of reactive oxygen species production.

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Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.


Reactive oxygen species produced by neutrophils contribute to the pathogenesis of focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury and signal the inflammatory response. We have previously shown that honokiol, an active principle extracted from Magnolia officinalis, has a protective effect against focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats that paralleled a reduction in reactive oxygen species production by neutrophils. To elucidate the underlying mechanism(s) of the antioxidative effect of honokiol, peripheral neutrophils isolated from rats were activated with phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) or N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) in the presence or absence of honokiol. In this study, we found that honokiol inhibited PMA- or fMLP-induced reactive oxygen species production by neutrophils by three distinct mechanisms: (1) honokiol diminished the activity of assembled-NADPH oxidase, a major reactive oxygen species producing enzyme in neutrophils by 40% without interfering with its protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent assembly; (2) two other important enzymes for reactive oxygen species generation in neutrophils, i.e., myeloperoxidase and cyclooxygenase, were also inhibited by honokiol by 20% and 70%, respectively; and (3) honokiol enhanced glutathione (GSH) peroxidase activity by 30%, an enzyme that triggers the metabolism of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). These data suggested that honokiol, acting as a potent reactive oxygen species inhibitor/scavenger, could achieve its focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury protective effect by modulating enzyme systems related to reactive oxygen species production or metabolism, including NADPH oxidase, myeloperoxidase, cyclooxygenase, and GSH peroxidase in neutrophils.

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