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Int J Mol Med. 2017 May;39(5):1101-1110. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2017.2930. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

Paeonol ameliorates imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like skin lesions in BALB/c mice by inhibiting the maturation and activation of dendritic cells.

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Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Capital Medical University, Beijing Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing Key Laboratory of Clinic and Basic Research with TCM on Psoriasis, Beijing 100010, P.R. China.


Paeonol, an active component derived from the traditional Chinese medicine Cortex Moutan, possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant and anti-allergic properties. Psoriasis is a chronic, recurrent, inflammatory dermatosis accompanied by excessive activation of Toll‑like receptors (TLRs) in dendritic cells (DCs), which are primarily responsible for initiating an immune response. We investigated the effect of paeonol on inflammation in an imiquimod (IMQ)-induced psoriasis-like mouse model and murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) stimulated by R848. Mice were intragastrically administered 100 mg/kg (high), 50 mg/kg (medium) and 25 mg/kg (low) paeonol, respectively. We evaluated inflammation of psori-asis‑like lesions based on histological changes, protein levels of myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and TLR8 in skin lesions by western blotting, and levels of CD11c+ DCs in skin by immunoassay and in spleens by flow cytometry. Inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-23, IL-12 and IL-1β] in skin lesions and BMDCs were also assessed by RT-PCR and ELISA. Application of paeonol decreased IMQ-induced keratinocyte proliferation, and infiltration of CD3+ cells, while the treatment ameliorated CD11c+ cells in the spleen and skin, and reduced MyD88 and TLR8 proteins in skin lesions. Paeonol inhibited IMQ-induced mRNA expression of IL-23, but not IL-12 and IL-1β in BMDCs, along with significantly lower levels of DCs expressing MHCⅡ, CD80 and CD86 in vitro. These results indicate that paeonol suppresses the maturation and activation of DCs by decreasing MyD88 and TLR8 proteins in the TLR7/8 signaling pathway which finally alleviates psoriasis‑like skin lesions. The TLR7/8 signaling pathway in DCs provides an important insight into the mechanism of psoriasis, and paeonol may be a potent therapeutic drug for psoriasis.

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