Rutin inhibits B[a]PDE-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression by targeting EGFR kinase activity

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Graphical abstractRutin is a well-known flavonoid that exists in various natural sources. Accumulative studies have represented the biological effects of rutin, such as anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the underlying mechanisms of rutin and its direct targets are not understood. We investigated whether rutin reduced B[a]PDE-induced-COX-2 expression. The transactivation of AP-1 and NF-κB were inhibited by rutin. Rutin also attenuated B[a]PDE-induced Raf/MEK/ERK and Akt activation, but had no effect on the phosphorylation of EGFR. An in vitro kinase assay revealed rutin suppressed EGFR kinase activity. We also confirmed direct binding between rutin and EGFR, and found that the binding was regressed by ATP. The EGFR inhibitor also inhibited the B[a]PDE-induced MEK/ERK and Akt signaling pathways and subsequently, suppressed COX-2 expression and promoter activity, in addition to suppressing the transactivation of AP-1 and NF-κB. In EGFR–/–mouse embryonic fibroblast cells, B[a]PDE-induced COX-2 expression was also diminished. Collectively, rutin inhibits B[a]PDE-induced COX-2 expression by suppressing the Raf/MEK/ERK and Akt signaling pathways. EGFR appeared to be the direct target of rutin.

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