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J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun 13;112(2):232-6. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

Flavonoids, centaurein and centaureidin, from Bidens pilosa, stimulate IFN-gamma expression.

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  • 1Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.


Bidens pilosa is used as an ethnical medicine for bacterial infection or immune modulation in Asia, America and Africa. Here, we employed an IFN-gamma promoter-driven luciferase reporter construct and T cells to characterize immunomodulatory compounds from this plant based on a bioactivity-guided isolation principle. We found that PHA, a positive control, caused a six-fold increase in IFN-gamma promoter activity. In contrast, hot water crude extracts from Bidens pilosa and its butanol subfraction increased IFN-gamma promoter activity to two- and six-fold, respectively. Finally, centaurein (EC(50)=75 microg/ml) and its aglycone, centaureidin (EC(50)=0.9 microg/ml), isolated from this butanol subfraction, augmented IFN-gamma promoter activity by approximately four-fold. Consistent with the role of centaurein or its aglycone in IFN-gamma regulation, we showed that centaurein induced the activity of NFAT and NFkappaB enhancers, located within the IFN-gamma promoter, in Jurkat cells. Overall, our results showed that centaurein regulated IFN-gamma transcription, probably via NFAT and NFkappaB in T cells.

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