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Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Sep;49(9):2157-66. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.05.030. Epub 2011 May 31.

Inhibition of acrolein-stimulated MUC5AC expression by Platycodon grandiflorum root-derived saponin in A549 cells.

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Department of Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, Chungnam National University, 220 Gung-dong, Daejeon 305-764, Republic of Korea.


Mucin overproduction is a hallmark of chronic airway diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In this study, we investigated the inhibition of acrolein-induced expression of mucin 5, subtypes A and C (MUC5AC) by Changkil saponin (CKS) in A549 cells. Acrolein, a known toxin in tobacco smoke and an endogenous mediator of oxidative stress, increases the expression of airway MUC5AC, a major component of airway mucus. CKS, a Platycodon grandiflorum root-derived saponin, inhibited acrolein-induced MUC5AC expression and activity, through the suppression of NF-κB activation. CKS also repressed acrolein-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK1/2, and p38MAPK, which are upstream signaling molecules that control MUC5AC expression. In addition, the MAPK inhibitors PD98059 (ERK1/2), SP600125 (JNK1/2), and SB203580 (p38 MAPK), and a PKC delta inhibitor (rottlerin; PKCδ) inhibited acrolein-induced MUC5AC expression and activity. CKS repressed acrolein-induced phosphorylation of PKCδ. Moreover, a reactive oxygen species (ROS) inhibitor, N-acetylcysteine, inhibited acrolein-induced MUC5AC expression and activity through the suppression of PKCδ and MAPK activation, and CKS repressed acrolein-induced ROS production. These results suggest that CKS suppresses acrolein-induced MUC5AC expression by inhibiting the activation of NF-κB via ROS-PKCδ-MAPK signaling.

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