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Chem Biol Interact. 2011 Oct 15;194(1):13-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2011.08.008. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Ginsenoside metabolite compound K differentially antagonizing tumor necrosis factor-α-induced monocyte-endothelial trafficking.

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Department of Food and Nutrition and the Regional Research Universities Program/Medical & Bio-Materials Research Center, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Kangwon-do, Republic of Korea.


Human leukocyte endothelial adhesion and transmigration occur in the early stage of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Vascular endothelial cells are targeted by pro-inflammatory cytokines modulating many gene proteins responsible for cell adhesion, thrombosis and inflammatory responses. This study examined the potential of compound K to inhibit the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α induction of monocyte adhesion onto TNF-α-activated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). HUVEC were cultured with 10ng/ml TNF-α with individual ginsenosides of Rb1, Rc, Re, Rh1 and compound K (CK). Ginsenosides at doses of ⩽50μM did not show any cytotoxicity. TNF-α induced THP-1 monocyte adhesion to HUVEC, and such induction was attenuated by Rh1 and CK. Consistently, CK suppressed TNF-α-induced expression of HUVEC adhesion molecules of VCAM-1, ICAM-1 and E-selectin, and also Rh1 showed a substantial inhibition. Rh1 and CK dampened induction of counter-receptors, α4/β1 integrin VLA-4 and αL/β2 integrin LFA-1 in TNF-α-treated THP-1 cells. Additionally, CK diminished THP-1 secretion of MMP-9 required during transmigration, inhibiting transendothelial migration of THP-1 cells. CK blunted TNF-α-promoted IL-8 secretion of HUVEC and CXCR1 expression of THP-1 monocytes. Furthermore, TNF-α-activated endothelial IκB phosphorylation and NF-κB nuclear translocation were disturbed by CK, and TNF-α induction of α4/β1 integrin was abrogated by the NF-κB inhibitor SN50. These results demonstrate that CK exerts anti-atherogenic activity with blocking leukocyte endothelial interaction and transmigration through negatively mediating NF-κB signaling.

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