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Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Apr;29(4):634-9.

Anti-inflammatory effect of pitavastatin on NF-kappaB activated by TNF-alpha in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

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Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama University, Sugitani, Japan.


As nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) is essential for promoting inflammation-associated cancer, it is a potential target for cancer prevention in chronic inflammatory diseases. Here we examined the anti-inflammatory effect of pitavastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor, on NF-kappaB activated by TNF-alpha in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Western blot revealed that the treatment of Huh 7 cells with pitavastatin at 0.1 microM inhibited the nuclear expression of NF-kappaB p65 induced by TNF-alpha. Furthermore, electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed that after the cells were incubated with pitavastatin alone or with pitavastatin and TNF-alpha for 24 h, pitavastatin significantly decreased the DNA binding activity of NF-kappaB induced by TNF-alpha. Subsequently, luciferase assay revealed that pitavastatin suppressed the transcriptional activity of the NF-kappaB promoter, which was clearly related to the HMG-CoA reductase activity because the addition of mevalonic acid (MEV) elevated the TNF-alpha activity. Moreover, the Rho kinase inhibitor Y27632 had no major effect on the NF-kappaB inhibitory activity of pitavastatin. The inhibitory effect of pitavastatin is possibly independent of the Rho kinase pathway in inflammation-associated HCC cells is. Finally, the addition of TNF-alpha significantly increased IL-6 protein production, which was suppressed by the addition of pitavastatin. These results suggest that pitavastatin at a low dose (0.1 microM) inhibits NF-kappaB activation and decreases IL-6 production induced by TNF-alpha, and is therefore expected to be a new strategy for treating HCC.

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