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Int Immunopharmacol. 2011 Sep;11(9):1166-72. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2011.03.014. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Ligustilide prevents LPS-induced iNOS expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages by preventing ROS production and down-regulating the MAPK, NF-κB and AP-1 signaling pathways.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, National Yang-Ming University, No. 155, Sec. 2, Linong Street, Taipei, 112, Taiwan, ROC.


Angelica sinensis (AS), an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, is thought to have anti-inflammatory activities. Ligustilide is its most abundant ingredient. This study sought to determine ligustilide's effects on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Ligustilide significantly suppressed the production of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The inhibition of NO was concomitant with a decrease in the protein and mRNA levels of LPS-induced nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Furthermore, activation of activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) in the nucleus and the cytosolic degradation of IκBα were abrogated by ligustilide. Ligustilide also inhibited the phosphorylation of IκB kinase (IKK) and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including p38 MAPK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). The intracellular reactive oxygen species (iROS) level was also significantly decreased. These results suggest that ligustilide exhibits anti-inflammatory activities by blocking the activation of MAPKs/IKK and the downstream transcription factors AP-1 and NF-κB, which may result from ligustilide's down-regulation of iROS production.

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