Micheliolide suppresses LPS-induced neuroinflammatory responses
Micheliolide suppresses LPS-induced neuroinflammatory responses
Zhaomeng Sun 0 1
Guodong Li 0 1
Tanjun Tong 0 1
Jun Chen 0 1
0 Peking University Research Center on Aging , Beijing , China , 2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Peking University Health Science Center , Beijing , China
1 Editor: Partha Mukhopadhyay, National Institutes of Health , UNITED STATES
Microglia-involved neuroinflammation is thought to promote brain damage in various neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, inhibition of microglial over-activation may have a therapeutic benefit for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Micheliolide (MCL) is a sesquiterpene lactone which inhibits various inflammatory response. However, whether MCL can inhibit neuroinflammation caused by LPS-activated BV2 microglia has not yet been explored. In this study, we demonstrated that treatment of BV2 cells with MCL significantly repressed LPS-stimulated nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression, as well as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and nitric oxide (NO) induction. MCL also attenuated mRNA levels of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators such as iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β. Mechanistic studies revealed that MCL suppressed LPS-stimulated the activation of IκBα/NF-κB pathway and Akt pathway. Moreover, MCL inhibited LPS-induced the activition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAPK kinase, and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2). Meanwhile, MCL markedly promoted antioxidant protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression by enhancing NF-E2related factor 2 (Nrf2) activity. Together, our results imply that MCL may serve as a neuroprotective agent in neuroinflammation-related neurodegenerative disorders.
Data Availability Statement: All relevant data are
within the paper and its Supporting Information
Funding: This work was supported by Ministry of
Science and Technology of the People's Republic
of China (MOST) Grants 2013CB530801 and
2014CB910503, and National Natural Science
Foundation of China (NSFC) Grant 81370455. The
funders had no role in study design, data collection
and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of
Microglia, resident macrophages in the central nervous system (CNS), are crucial players of
the innate immune responses and serve as the frontline of defense against foreign substances
and pro-inflammatory response [
]. In the homeostatic state, microglia function in the host
protection of brain, and act as phagocytes to clean up damaged neurons and tissue debris [
]. However, aberrantly activated microglia significantly increase neuroinflammation and
neurotoxicity by secreting various pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators including TNF-α,
interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), NO, reactive oxygen species (ROS), inducible
nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and COX-2 etc., which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases
such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), cerebral ischemia, multiple
sclerosis, and stroke [4±8]. Therefore, the candidate drugs that target the aberrant activation of
microglia may have valuable therapeutic potential for the treatment of
Multiple signaling pathways are implicated in modulating microglial activation. NF-κB is a
predominant transcription factor in regulating pro-inflammatory mediators [
]. Inhibition of
NF-κB activity is widely recognized as a good strategy for suppressing neuroinflammation. In
addition, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades including c-Jun
N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase ERK1/2 also modulate
microglial inflammatory responses through activating NF-κB thereby enhancing cytokine
3, 10, 11
]. Recent studies demonstrate that the phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase/Akt
(PI3K/Akt) pathway is essential for efficient activation of NF-κB and subsequent inflammatory
genes expression . The transcription factor NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/antioxidant
response element (ARE) signaling pathways are thought to be the central modulator of
antiinflammation and neuroprotection [
]. Nrf2 regulates the transcription of antioxidant
genes including heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1
(NQO1) . HO-1 has been suggested as a potential therapeutic target for treating many
neuroinflammatory diseases .
Micheliolide (MCL) is a guaianolide sesquiterpene lactone isolated from Michelia
compressa and Michelia champaca [
]. MCL can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a
formidable obstacle for drugs to exert a therapeutic effect in vivo, and preferentially accumulates in the
]. To date, research on MCL mainly focuses on the antitumor activity, such as acute
myelogenous leukemia (AML) [18±21], malignant gliomas [
] and breast cancer [
Recently, MCL has also been described to possess anti-inflammatory properties. For example,
MCL has been reported to suppress LPS-induced inflammatory response and protects mice
from LPS challenge via inhibition of NF-κB and PI3K/Akt activities . Moreover, MCL is
reported to inhibit dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced inflammatory intestinal disease,
colitis-associated cancer and rheumatic arthritis [
]. Despite of the anti-inflammatory
potentials of MCL showing in these studies, whether MCL can suppress microglial
overactivation-caused neuroinflammation which induced by LPS challenge is largely unknown. In this
study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of MCL on LPS-stimulated
neuroinflammation in vitro and in vivo.
MCL treatment did not induce cytotoxicity in BV2 cells
Prior to investigation the effects of MCL on BV2 cells, CCK-8 assay was performed to determine
its cytotoxicity to BV2 cells. After 24 hours incubation with different concentrations of MCL, cell
viability of BV2 cells was not significantly altered by any doses of MCL treatment from 1 μM up
to 10 μM (Fig 1A). To further evaluate whether MCL treatment induce BV2 cytotoxicity, we
used phalloidin and Hoechst to double stain the cells. The immunofluorescent result showed
that none of the dosage of MCL induced any alteration in BV2 cell morphology (Fig 1B). These
results indicated that the dosage of MCL used in this study did not trigger BV2 cytotoxicity.
MCL inhibited LPS-induced iNOS, NO and COX-2 expression in BV2 cells
First, we examined whether MCL treatment could suppress LPS-stimulated iNOS and NO
production in BV2 cells. BV2 cells were pretreated with MCL and followed by LPS challenge,
then the NO level in the culture media was determined by Griess assay. (The time lines which
shown when the cells were treated with MCL and LPS and collected for any experiments were
presented in S1 Fig). In LPS-stimulated BV2 cells, there was a marked increase in NO
production compared to unstimulated cells. In contrast, MCL pretreatment significantly decreased
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Fig 1. MCL treatment did not affect BV2 cell viability. (A) BV2 cells were treated with the indicated doses of
MCL for 24 h, then the cytotoxicity of MCL was measured by CCK-8 assay. The cell viability result was normalized
to BV2 cells without MCL treatment for each other. Data were presented as means ± SD of three independent
experiments. (B) BV2 cells were treated with indicated doses of MCL for 24 h. Then, the cells were stained with
FITC-Phalloidin, green; and nuclei, Hoechst33258, blue; representative images by immunofluorescence were
shown, scale bar = 50 μm.
NO production in a dose-dependent manner (Fig 2A). It is well known that NO production
mainly relies on the iNOS expression. We then assessed whether MCL reduced NO level via
suppression of iNOS induction. As shown in Fig 2B and 2C, LPS stimulation significantly
promoted iNOS expression at both protein level and mRNA level. However, MCL treatment
effectively hampered LPS-stimulated iNOS expression both at protein and mRNA levels (Fig 2B
and 2C). These data indicated that MCL restrained LPS-induced NO production in BV2 cells
via down-regulation of iNOS mRNA and protein expression.
We further determined whether MCL treatment could inhibit LPS-stimulated COX-2
expression. Similar to iNOS results, MCL significantly impeded COX-2 protein expression
(Fig 2D) and mRNA transcription (Fig 2E) upon LPS treatment. These results suggested that
MCL could repress LPS-induced COX-2 expression.
MCL mitigated LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines production in
LPS challenge in BV2 cells induces various pro-inflammatory cytokines production including
TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β, etc [4±8]. Thus, we determined whether MCL could hinder
LPS3 / 16
Fig 2. MCL inhibited LPS-induced iNOS and COX-2 expression, and NO production in BV2 cells. (A) BV2
cells were pretreated with MCL (1, 5, and 10 μM) for 1 h and then incubated with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 24 h. The NO
concentration in supernatant was determined using Griess reagent. (B) In a parallel experiment, cell lysates were
subjected to Western blot analysis and immunoblotted with the indicated proteins. (C) BV2 cells were pretreated
with MCL (10 μM) for 1 h and then incubated with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 6 h. Then, mRNA was extracted and the
mRNA level of iNOS was evaluated by RT-PCR. (D) BV2 cells were pretreated with MCL (10 μM) for 1 h and then
incubated with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 24 h. The indicated proteins were evaluated by Western blot. (E) BV2 cells were
pretreated with MCL (10 μM) for 1 h and then incubated with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 6 h. Then, mRNA was extracted
and the mRNA level of COX-2 was evaluated by RT-PCR. Data were presented as means ± SD of three
independent experiments. **p < 0.01 and ***p < 0.001 vs. LPS alone.
induced pro-inflammatory cytokines production. In LPS- stimulated BV2 cells, the secretory
levels of TNF-α and IL-6 in supernatant detected by enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay
(ELISA) were significantly increased compared to unstimulated cells (Fig 3A and 3B).
Conversely, pretreatment with MCL substantially attenuated TNF-αand IL-6 secretory levels
compared to LPS treatment only (Fig 3A and 3B). We further examined whether MCL could affect
mRNA levels of TNF-αand IL-6 by using RT-PCR. Consistent with secretion results, the
increment of TNF-αand IL-6 mRNA levels which induced by LPS challenge was significantly
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Fig 3. MCL decreased LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines production. (A) and (B) BV2 cells were
pretreated with MCL (10 μM) for 1 h and then incubated with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 12 h. The secretory levels of
TNF-α and IL-6 in supernatants were measured using ELISA. (C), (D) and (E) BV2 cells were treated with MCL
(10 μM) for 1 h and followed by LPS treatment for 6 h. Then, mRNA was extracted and the mRNA level of
TNFα (C), IL-6 (D) and IL-1β(E) was evaluated by RT-PCR. Data were presented as means ± SD of three
independent experiments. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01 and ***p < 0.001 vs. LPS alone.
alleviated by MCL treatment (Fig 3C and 3D). In addition, we also observed that
LPS-stimulated the up-regulation of IL-1βmRNA level was largely diminished by MCL treatment (Fig
3E). These data revealed that MCL could inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines expression
induced by LPS in BV2 cells.
MCL suppressed LPS-induced NF-κB activity
It is well known that many pro-inflammatory cytokines induction mainly depends on the
NFκB activity. Thus, we next investigated whether the inhibitory effect of MCL on
pro5 / 16
Fig 4. MCL repressed LPS-induced NF-κB activity. (A) and (B) BV2 cells were pretreated with MCL (10 μM)
for 1 h and then added LPS (1 μg/ml) for 30 min. Total cell lysates were subjected to Western blot analysis
using antibodies against phospho-IκBα (A) or total form of IκBα (B). (C) Cells were treated similar to (A). The
cytosolic and nuclear extracts were subjected to Western blot analysis for the indicated proteins. (D) BV2 cells
were treated with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 1 h after pretreatment with MCL (10 μM) for 1 h. Then, cells were stained
with NF-κB subunit p65 antibody, green; and nuclei, DAPI, blue; scale bar = 20 μm, representative images by
immunofluorescence were shown. (E) NF-κB luciferase reporter vector was co-transfected with Renilla vector
in BV2 cells. 24 h later, cells were treated with MCL (10 μM) for 1h then followed by LPS (1 μg/ml) incubation for
6 h. Then, cell lysates were collected, and NF-κB luciferase activities against Renilla luciferase activities were
measured by the double-luciferase assay system. Data were presented as means ± SD of three independent
experiments. **p < 0.01 vs. LPS alone.
inflammatory cytokines expression was via suppression of NF-κB activity in BV2 cells. In
canonical NF-κB activation pathway, a cytoplasmic IKKα-IKKβ-nemo complex is
phosphorylated, thereby causing IκBα phosphorylation and degradation and subsequent NF-κB nuclear
translocation. Therefore, we first examined the influence of MCL on the IκBα phosphorylation
and degradation. Stimulation of BV2 cells with LPS resulted in the marked increase of
phospho-IκBα level and decrease of total IκBα, which was considerably reversed by MCL treatment
(Fig 4A and 4B). Next, we investigated whether MCL treatment could block the NF-κB subunit
p65 translocation from the cytosol to the nucleus by isolation of nuclear and cytosolic
organelles. As shown in Fig 4C, after LPS treatment, the cytosolic p65 level reduced and nuclear p65
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level increased when compared to the untreated cells, which indicated that p65 translocated
from cytosol to nucleus and NF-κB was activated. Histone H3 signal proved the purity of the
nuclear preparations. In contrast, the cytosolic and nuclear p65 levels in MCL-treated cells
were similar to unstimulated cells, which indicated that MCL treatment blocked p65
translocation from cytosol to nucleus. The immunofluorescent analysis further demonstrated that LPS
induced p65 translocation from cytosol to the nucleus was prevented by MCL treatment (Fig
4D). Furthermore, we determined the effect of MCL on LPS-induced NF-κB promoter
binding activity by luciferase reporter gene assay. Our result showed that pretreatment with MCL
significantly inhibited LPS-stimulated NF-κB luciferase activity (Fig 4E). These findings
implied that MCL hindered LPS-stimulated pro-inflammatory cytokines expression in BV2
cells at least partly via inhibition of IκBα/NF-κB pathway.
MCL inhibited LPS-induced MAPKs and PI3K/Akt pathways activities
Previous studies have demonstrated that MAPKs signaling pathway modulate LPS-induced
pro-inflammatory cytokines expression through activating NF-κB in microglia [
3, 10, 11
Thus, we sought to explore the effect of MCL on MAPKs pathway. As shown in Fig 5A, the
phosphorylation levels of MAPKs including JNK, p38, and ERK significantly elevated in
LPStreated BV2 cells compared to untreated cells, without altering the basal expression level of
these MAPKs. In contrast, MCL treatment markedly impeded these MAPKs activities. This
observation indicated that MCL might inhibit LPS-stimulated NF-κB activity and
pro-inflammatory cytokines expression partially via inhibition of MAPKs signaling pathway.
Since PI3K/Akt signaling pathway is also reported to regulate NF-κB activity and
inflammatory response [
], we then detected the effect of MCL on Akt activity. LPS stimulation
triggered the significant up-regulation of phosphorylated Akt compared to untreated cells,
without affecting the basal level of Akt (Fig 5B). Conversely, MCL treatment remarkably
blocked LPS-induced Akt activity. Our result indicated that MCL might also suppress
LPSstimulated NF-κB activity partly through decreasing Akt signaling activity.
MCL enhanced Nrf2 and HO-1 expression
The transcription factor Nrf2 and its target gene HO-1 are thought to execute
anti-inflammation and neuroprotection effect on microglia. Therefore, we further analyzed whether Nrf2/
HO-1 pathway contributed to the anti-inflammatory effect of MCL on LPS-induced microglial
inflammation. As shown in Fig 6A and 6B, MCL treatment promoted HO-1 expression at
both protein and mRNA levels in a dose-dependent manner. We further exploited the effect of
MCL on Nrf2 nuclear translocation which related to its transcriptional activity. The nuclear
accumulation of Nrf2 was increased in MCL-treated cells compared to untreated cells, with
the maximum effect being observed at 1 h MCL treatment (Fig 6C). Moreover, we found that
MCL treatment increased the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 (Fig 6D). However, the cytosolic
Nrf2 levels remained unchanged or only slightly reduced. Meanwhile, we noticed that MCL
treatment significantly induced total Nrf2 protein expression. We speculated that
MCLinduced Nrf2 expression compensated for the decrease of cytosolic Nrf2. This may gave the
explanation why the level of Nrf2 in cytosol remained almost unchanged. This finding
indicated that MCL activated Nrf2 antioxidant protective mechanism in BV2 microglia.
DMAMCL attenuated LPS-induced IL-6 expression in the cortex and hippocampus in mice
We further investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of MCL in LPS-induced
neuroinflammation in Balb/c mice. To avoid the potential toxicity of DMSO, the solvent of MCL, to animals,
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Fig 5. MCL suppressed LPS-induced MAPKs and Akt activities. (A) and (B) BV2 cells were treated with
MCL (10 μM) for 1 h then followed by LPS (1 μg/ml) addition for 30 min. Then, total cell lysates were subjected
to Western blot analysis using antibodies against phospho- or total forms of JNK, p38, ERK, and Akt.
DMAMCL, which is the water-soluble, dimethylamino Michael adduct of MCL, and can
slowly release MCL as a metabolite in mouse plasma [
], was used in vivo studies. As shown
in Fig 7A, LPS markedly increased IL-6 mRNA levels in the cortex and hippocampus
compared to the untreated mice. Conversely, DMAMCL pretreatment significantly decreased the
LPS-induced IL-6 mRNA expression in both brain regions. We also observed DMAMCL
reduced LPS-stimulated the elevation of TNF-αmRNA levels in the cortex and hippocampus,
but the difference did not reach significant level (Fig 7B). These results implied that MCL
might suppress LPS-induced neuroinflammation in vivo.
MCL has been described to possess anti-inflammatory properties. For example, MCL can
suppress LPS-stimulated cytokines production such as IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1, et al, in Raw264.7
cells, primary macrophages, dendritic cells and human monocytes [
]. However, whether
MCL can inhibit neuroinflammation in microglia is unclear. LPS, a component of the outer
membrane of gram-negative bacteria, is widely known as a potent stimulant that causes
neuroinflammatory responses and brain damage [
]. The BV2 cell is an immortalized murine
microglial cell line and has been used frequently as a substitute for primary microglia [
this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of MCL in LPS-stimulated BV2 cells
and mice. Our results demonstrated that MCL could suppress LPS-stimulated multiple
proinflammatory mediators expression including NO, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 both in
BV2 cells and in mouse brain (Figs 2, 3 and 7).
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Fig 6. MCL promoted Nrf2 and HO-1 expression. (A) and (B) BV2 cells were treated with the indicated doses of
MCL for 12 h. Then, total cell lysates were subjected to Western blot analysis using antibody against HO-1 (A); or
total RNA was extracted and the mRNA level of HO-1 was evaluated by RT-PCR (B). (C) and (D) BV2 cells were
treated with MCL (10 μM) for the indicated times (C) or treated with various doses of MCL for 2 h (D). Nuclear and
cytosolic fractions were isolated and subjected to Western blot analysis using antibody against Nrf2. Data were
presented as means ± SD of three independent experiments. ***p < 0.001 vs. control group.
We further explored the anti-inflammatory mechanism of MCL in LPS-activated BV2 cells.
NF-κB has been known to play critical roles in microglial activation and is a predominant
transcription factor in regulating pro-inflammatory mediators, such as iNOS, COX-2 and
9, 30, 31
]. In addition, MAPKs and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways are also engaged in
modulating microglial inflammatory responses via up-regulation of NF-κB activity and
subsequent cytokines expression [
3, 10, 11
]. Furthermore, redox-sensitive transcription factor Nrf2
plays an important role in cellular antioxidant defense . LPS-induced microglia activation
can be prevented by enhancing Nrf2 expression [
]. Moreover, phytochemical-induced
activation of Nrf2 is reported to repress NF-κB activity [
]. HO-1 is one of the important genes
in response to oxidative stress and functions to protect against various inflammatory diseases
]. HO-1 and its product, carbon monoxide, can suppress the expression of
pro-inflammatory mediators COX-2 and iNOS, thereby reducing COX-2-drived PGE2 and iNOS-derived
NO production [
]. During oxidative conditions, Nrf2 translocates to the nucleus, binds to
antioxidant response element, and regulates the transcription of antioxidant genes such as
]. Therefore, NF-κB, MAPKs, PI3K/Akt, and Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathways are
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Fig 7. DMAMCL alleviated LPS-induced IL-6 expression in the cortex and hippocampus in mice. Mice
were administered with 100 mg/kg DMAMCL by gavage for five consecutive days. On the fifth day, mice were
challenged with saline or 0.33 mg/kg LPS i.p for 3 h. Then, the cortex and hippocampus were collected and
total RNAs were extracted. IL-6 (A) and TNF-α (B) mRNA levels were determined by RT-PCR. Data were
presented as means ± SD (n = 6). *p < 0.05 vs. LPS alone.
critical targets for anti-inflammatory response. In this study, we demonstrated that MCL could
remarkably inhibit LPS-stimulated multiple inflammatory regulators' activities including
NFκB, MAPKs such as JNK, p38, and ERK1/2, as well as Akt, simultaneously. Meanwhile, MCL
could also promote Nrf2 expression and transcriptional activity to induce HO-1 expression
(Figs 4±6). Although MCL can exert on multiple pathways, however, the direct targets of MCL
are currently unknown and need to be further explored in the future.
Aberrantly activated microglia produce excessive amounts of various pro-inflammatory
mediators, which can lead to neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases [4±8].
Therefore, suppression of aberrant activation of microglia may have valuable therapeutic
potential for the treatment of neuroinflammation-related neurodegenerative diseases. In this
study, we showed that MCL strongly suppressed LPS-stimulated NO production and iNOS,
COX-2 expressions, as well as various pro-inflammatory cytokines induction including
TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6 both in BV2 cells and in mice. The mechanistic study suggested that the
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anti-inflammatory effects of MCL, on the one hand, partly depended on the inhibition of the
activities of IκBα/NF-κB, MAPKs and Akt pathways, on the other hand, partially relied on the
activating Nrf2/HO-1 anti-inflammation pathways. β-Lapachone (β-LAP), a natural
naphthoquinone compound isolated from the lapacho tree (Tabebuia sp.), is reported to suppress
LPSinduced neuroinflammation in BV2 cells and in mouse brain with similar pathways and
mechanism to MCL [
]. However, β-LAP has low BBB permeability and only a minimal
concentration of β-LAP penetrates into the brain, compared with other organs, under normal
conditions. Therefore, the authors suggest two possible mechanisms of
anti-neuroinflammatory effect of β-LAP on mouse brain: (1) β-LAP suppresses the peripheral inflammation
induced by LPS and thus inhibits subsequent brain inflammation. (2) BBB permeability is
compromised in systemic inflammatory conditions, hence the penetration of β -LAP into the
brain might be enhanced [
]. In contrast, MCL can cross BBB and preferentially accumulates
in the brain [
]. In addition, MCL is very stable in vitro and in vivo and no apparent side
effects are observed after long-term treatment in vivo [
]. All this advantages and the wide
anti-inflammation spectrum of MCL revealed in this study made it an ideal drug candidate to
treat neuroinflammation-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Materials and methods
Reagents and antibodies
MCL and DMAMCL were generously provided by Accendatech Co., Ltd. (Tianjin, China) and
were dissolved in DMSO (Sigma) and sterile water, respectively. LPS (Sigma) was dissolved in
sterile water. Nitric oxide (NO) assay kit was purchased from Beyotime Institute of Biotechnology.
The following antibodies were used in this study: anti-iNOS, anti-phospho-ERK,
anti-phospho-JNK, anti-p38, anti-phospho-Akt, anti-Akt, anti-p65, anti-phospho-IκBα, and anti-IκBα
were from Cell Signaling Technology. Anti-COX-2 and anti-HO-1 were from Abcam.
Antiphospho-p38 was from Santa Cruz. Anti-Nrf2, anti-ERK, anti-c-Fos, anti-Histone H3, and
anti-JNK were from Ruiying Biological. Anti-GAPDH and anti-β-tubulin were from Bioworld.
Horseradish peroxidase conjugated secondary antibodies were from Macgene.
BV2 cells were from Peking Union Medical College, Cell Bank (Beijing, China) and were
cultured at 37 ÊC in 5% CO2 in DMEM (Macgene) in supplemented with 10% FBS (Hyclone).
Measurement of cell viability
Cell viability was determined by CCK-8 cell counting kit (Vazyme). BV2 cells were plated into
96-well culture plates at a density of 1 × 104/well in 100 μL volume and grown at 37 ÊC for 24
h. The culture medium was subsequently replaced by medium containing different
concentrations of MCL (0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 μM). At the point of 20 h, 10 μL CCK-8 reagent was added to
each well. After 4 h of incubation, the optical density of each well was determined at 450 nm
using a microplate reader (Tecan).
Measurement of NO production
BV2 cells were seeded in 6-well culture plates and pretreated with the indicated concentrations
of MCL 1 h prior to stimulation with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 24 h. Cell supernatants were collected
and assayed for NO production using Griess reagent. Briefly, cell supernatants were mixed
with Griess reagent and then incubated at room temperature for 10 min. The optical density
was detected under 540 nm and sodium nitrite was used as a standard curve.
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BV2 cells were seeded in 6-well culture plates and pretreated with the indicated concentrations
of MCL 1 h prior to stimulation with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 12 h. Then, cell supernatants were
collected and centrifuged at 16,000 rpm for 10 min. The concentration of TNF-α and IL-6 were
detected by specific ELISA kit (Neobioscience Technology Co., China) according to
Isolation of total RNA and RT-PCR
BV2 cells were pretreated with the indicated concentrations of MCL 1 h prior to stimulation
with LPS (1 μg/ml) for 6 h and total RNA was extracted using RaPure Total RNA Kit (Magen)
according to the manufacturer's instruction. Reverse transcription was performed using
RevertAid First Strand cDNA Synthesis Kit (Thermo Scientific). Real-time PCR analysis was
performed using SYBR Select Master Mix (Life technologies) in conjunction with an ABI
Prism 7500 Sequence Detection System with the expression of β-actin as the internal control.
The data were analyzed using the ΔΔCT method. The primers for iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α,
IL1β, IL-6 and β-actin were described as below.
iNOS: F: 5’-GAAGAAAACCCCTTGTGCTG-3’, R: 5’-GTCGATGTCACATGCAGCTT-3’;
COX-2: F: 5’-GATGTTTGCATTCTTTGCCC-3’, R: 5’-TGAAGCCATGACCTTTCGCATT
TNF-α: F: 5’-GAAAAGCAAGCAGCCAACCA-3’, R: 5’-CGGATCATGCTTTCTGTGCTC-3’;
IL-1β: F: 5’-AATGACCTGTTCTTTGAAGTTGA-3’, R: 5’-TGATGTGCTGCTGCGAGATTT
IL-6: F: 5’-ACAAGTCGGAGGCTTAATTACACAT-3’, R: 5’-TTGCCATTGCACAACTCTT
β-actin: F: 5’-TCCTCCTGAGCGCAAGTACTCT-3’, R: 5’-GCTCAGTAACAGT CCGCCT
Cytosolic and nuclear fractionation
Cytosolic and nuclear extracts were prepared using nuclear and cytoplasmic extraction kit
(Applygen Technologies), according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Western blot analysis
Cells were washed twice with ice-cold 1× PBS, harvested, and lysed in RIPA buffer (Applygen
Technologies) with phosphatase inhibitor tablet (Roche Diagnostics) and protease inhibitor
(Cocktails, AMRESCO). Cell lysates were then centrifuged for 15 min at 13,000 × g at 4 ÊC and
supernatants were collected and protein concentrations were determined by BCA Protein Assay
Reagent (Pierce). Cell lysates (15±30 μg) were subjected to 8±12% SDS-polyacrylamide gel
electrophoresis (SDS/PAGE) and transferred to nitrocellulose membranes (Millipore). For western
blotting analysis, membranes were incubated with primary antibodies for overnight at 4ÊC
followed by incubation with a secondary antibody for 1h at r.t. Then the signals were detected by
enhanced chemiluminescence or fluorescence according to the manufacturer's recommendation.
In the NF-κB nuclear translocation assay, BV2 cells were seeded onto cover slips in 24-well
culture plates and pretreated with MCL (10 μM) 1 h prior to stimulation with LPS (1 μg/ml)
for 1 h. The cells were then fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde for 10 min, washed with PBS, and
permeabilized with 0.5% Triton X-100 for 10 min at room temperature. Samples were blocked
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with 0.5% BSA for 1 h at room temperature and then incubated with the antibody to the
NFκB p65 overnight at 4 ÊC. The samples were washed with PBS and incubated with Alexa
Fluor1 488-conjugated secondary antibody (Abcam) for 1 h at room temperature. Finally, the
samples were washed again with PBS and were stained with DAPI (Sigma).
In the cell toxicity assay, BV2 cells were seeded onto cover slips in 24-well culture plates
and treated with the indicated concentrations of MCL for 24 h. The cells were then fixed with
4% paraformaldehyde for 10 min, washed with PBS, and permeabilized with 0.5% Triton
X100 for 10 min at room temperature. Samples were incubated with the FITC-Phalloidin
(yeasen) at room temperature for 30 min in the dark. Finally, the samples were washed with TBST
and were stained with Hoechst33258 (yeasen). All immunofluorescence images were captured
with a confocal laser scanning microscope (Olympus FV1000).
Transfection of the NF-κB reporter vectors and Renilla vectors as loading control into BV2
cells was performed using Lipofectamine 2000 (Invitrogen) following the manufacturer's
instructions. Cells were plated onto 12-well plates and grown overnight. Then, cells were
cotransfected with 1 μg of the reporter vectors along with 4 ng of Renilla vectors. After 24h,
cell lysates were collected, and the luciferase activities against Renilla luciferase activities were
measured with the double-luciferase assay system (Promega) following the manufacturer's
instructions. To determine the effect of MCL on LPS-induced NF-κB activity, cells were
treated with 10 μM MCL in the absence or presence of LPS and incubated for 6 h prior to
harvesting cells for luciferase assay. Renilla luciferase activity was used as an internal control. The
relative luciferase activity was then calculated by normalizing firefly luciferase activity to
Renilla luciferase activity.
In vivo anti-inflammation effect assay
Balb/c mice (female, 3±4 month old) were divided into three groups (control group, LPS
group, DMAMCL group, n = 6). DMAMCL (100 mg/kg) was first treated by intragastric
administration for five consecutive days. On the fifth day, mice were also injected i.p with
saline or Escherichia coli LPS (0.33 mg/kg). After 3 h, the mice were sacrificed and the brains
were harvested. The gene expressions of TNF-α and IL-6 in the cortex and hippocampus were
detected by real-time PCR assay.
Data were presented as the means ± SD. The Student's t-test was used to analyze statistical
differences between groups. A two-tailed P-value of less than 0.05 was considered significant.
S1 Fig. The time lines which shown when the cells were treated with MCL and LPS and
collected for any experiments.
We thank Dr. Yue Chen from Accendatech Co., Ltd. (Tianjin, China) for generously providing
MCL and DMAMCL.
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Conceptualization: Jun Chen.
Data curation: Zhaomeng Sun.
Formal analysis: Zhaomeng Sun.
Funding acquisition: Tanjun Tong, Jun Chen.
Investigation: Zhaomeng Sun.
Methodology: Zhaomeng Sun.
Project administration: Guodong Li.
Resources: Guodong Li.
Software: Guodong Li.
Supervision: Tanjun Tong.
Validation: Zhaomeng Sun.
Visualization: Zhaomeng Sun.
Writing ± original draft: Zhaomeng Sun, Jun Chen.
Writing ± review & editing: Jun Chen.
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Wu W, Li Y, Wu Y, Zhang Y, Wang Z, Liu X. Lutein suppresses inflammatory responses through Nrf2
activation and NF-kappaB inactivation in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV-2 microglia. Molecular
nutrition & food research. 2015; 59(9):1663±73. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201500109 PMID: 26016441.
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