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J Med Food. 2012 Nov;15(11):992-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.2275. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Anti-inflammatory activity of sulfur-containing compounds from garlic.

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Research Center for Cell Fate Control, College of Pharmacy, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, Korea.


We identified four anti-inflammatory sulfur-containing compounds from garlic, and their chemical structures were identified as Z- and E-ajoene and oxidized sulfonyl derivatives of ajoene. The sulfur compounds inhibited the production of nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-6 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated macrophages. Western blotting and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated that these sulfur compounds attenuated the LPS-induced expression of the inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) proteins and mRNA. Moreover, these sulfur-containing compounds suppressed the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcriptional activity and the degradation of inhibitory-κBα in LPS-activated macrophages. Furthermore, we observed that they markedly inhibited the LPS-induced phosphorylations of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) at 20 μM. These data demonstrate that the sulfur compounds from garlic, (Z, E)-ajoene and their sulfonyl analogs, can suppress the LPS-induced production of NO/PGE(2) and the expression of iNOS/COX-2 genes by inhibiting the NF-κB activation and the phosphorylations of p38 and ERK. Taken together, these data show that Z- and E-ajoene and their sulfonyl analogs from garlic might have anti-inflammatory therapeutic potential.

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