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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016 Apr;357(1):177-87.

3,39-Diindolylmethane Ameliorates Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B–Induced Acute Lung Injury through Alterations in the Expression of MicroRNA that Target Apoptosis and Cell-Cycle Arrest in Activated T Cells.


3,39-Diindolylmethane (DIM), a natural indole found in cruciferous vegetables, has significant anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. In this current study, we investigated the effects of DIM on acute lung injury (ALI) induced by exposure to staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB). We found that pretreatment of mice with DIM led to attenuation of SEB-induced inflammation in the lungs, vascular leak, and IFN-g secretion. Additionally, DIM could induce cell-cycle arrest and cell death in SEB-activated T cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Interestingly, microRNA (miRNA) microarray analysis uncovered an altered miRNA profile in lung-infiltrating mononuclear cells after DIM treatment of SEB-exposed mice. Moreover, computational analysis of miRNA gene targets and regulation networks indicated that DIM alters miRNA in the cell death and cell-cycle progression pathways. Specifically, DIM treatment significantly downregulated several miRNA and a correlative increase associated gene targets. Furthermore, overexpression and inhibition studies demonstrated that DIM-induced cell death, at least in part, used miR-222. Collectively, these studies demonstrate for the first time that DIM treatment attenuates SEB-induced ALI and may do so through the induction of microRNAs that promote apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest in SEB-activated T cells.

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