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Open Access Research article

Ethanol extract of Poria cocos reduces the production of inflammatory mediators by suppressing the NF-kappaB signaling pathway in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages

Jin-Woo Jeong1, Hye Hyeon Lee2, Min Ho Han34, Gi-Young Kim5, Su Hyun Hong5, Cheol Park6 and Yung Hyun Choi34*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Core Research Facilities, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology, Daegu 711-873, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Biotechnology, College of Natural Resources and Life Science, Dong-A University, Busan 604-714, Republic of Korea

3 Department of Biochemistry, College of Oriental Medicine, Dongeui University, Busan 614-052, Republic of Korea

4 Anti-Aging Research Center & Blue-Bio Industry RIC, Dongeui University, Busan 614-714, Republic of Korea

5 Laboratory of Immunobiology, Department of Marine Life Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju 690-756, Republic of Korea

6 Department of Molecular Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Dongeui University, Busan 614-714, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:101  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-101

Published: 15 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Poria cocos Wolf, a medicinal fungus, is widely used in traditional medicines in East Asian countries owing to its various therapeutic potentials. Although several studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory activity of this fungus, its underlying mechanisms have not yet been clearly defined.

Methods

In the present study, we have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of ethanol extract of P. cocos (EEPC) in lipopolysaccaride (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. As inflammatory parameters, the productions of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were evaluated. We also examined the EEPC’s effect on the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) signaling pathway.

Results

Our results indicated that EEPC exhibits a potent inhibitory effect on NO production and inhibits PGE2 release in LPS-induced macrophages without affecting cell viability. EEPC also significantly attenuated LPS-induced secretion of inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α. Additionally, LPS-induced expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, IL-1β, and TNF-α was decreased by pre-treatment with EEPC at the transcriptional level. Moreover, EEPC clearly inhibited LPS-induced nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 subunits, which correlated with EEPC’s inhibitory effects on inhibitor kappaB (IκB) degradation. Moreover, EEPC clearly suppressed the LPS-induced DNA-binding activity of NF-κB, as well as the nuclear translocation of the NF-κB p65, which correlated with EEPC’s inhibitory effects on inhibitor kappaB (IκB) degradation.

Conclusions

Taken together, our data indicates that EEPC targets the inflammatory response of macrophages via inhibition of iNOS, COX-2, IL-1β, and TNF-α through inactivation of the NF-κB signaling pathway, supporting the pharmacological basis of P. cocos as a traditional herbal medicine for treatment of inflammation and its associated disorders.

Keywords:
Poria cocos; RAW 264.7 cells; Anti-inflammation; NF-κB