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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 1;286(26):22707-10. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C111.250407. Epub 2011 May 12.

Ursolic acid suppresses interleukin-17 (IL-17) production by selectively antagonizing the function of RORgamma t protein.

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Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.


Th17 cells have recently emerged as a major player in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases via the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-17, IL-17F, and IL-22. The differentiation of Th17 cells and the associated cytokine production is directly controlled by RORγt. Here we show that ursolic acid (UA), a small molecule present in herbal medicine, selectively and effectively inhibits the function of RORγt, resulting in greatly decreased IL-17 expression in both developing and differentiated Th17 cells. In addition, treatment with UA ameliorated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. The results thus suggest UA as a valuable drug candidate or leading compound for developing treatments of Th17-mediated inflammatory diseases and cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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