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Buddlejasaponin IV isolated from Pleurospermum kamtschatidum is an anti-inflammatory compound that inhibits NO, PGE2 and TNF-α production. Here, we studied the mode of action of this compound.Buddlejasaponin IV (2.5–10 μM) reduced lipopolysaccaride (LPS (1 μg ml−1))-induced levels of iNOS and COX-2 at the protein levels, and iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 mRNA expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages in a concentration-dependent manner, as determined by Western blotting and RT–PCR, respectively.Buddlejasaponin IV inhibited the LPS-induced activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a transcription factor necessary for proinflammatory mediators, iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 expression. This effect was accompanied by a parallel reduction in IκB-α degradation and phosphorylation, and by the nuclear translocation of the NF-κB p65 subunit.The effects of buddlejasaponin IV on acute phase inflammation were studied on serotonin- and carrageenan–induced paw edema. The antiedematous effect of buddlejasaponin IV was compared with 10 mg kg−1 of indomethacin p.o. Maximum inhibitions of 26 and 41% were noted at a dose of 20 mg kg−1 for serotonin- and carrageenan-induced paw edema, respectively.The analgesic effect of buddlejasaponin IV was evaluated using acetic acid-induced writhing and hot-plate tests. Buddlejasaponin IV (10 and 20 mg kg−1, p.o.) was found to have a marked analgesic effect in both models.These results suggest that the inhibitions of the expressions of iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 by blocking NF-κB activation, are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of buddlejasaponin IV isolated from P. kamtschatidum.