Andrographolide protects against cigarette smoke-induced oxidative lung injury via augmentation of Nrf2 activity

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Cigarette smoke is a major cause for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Andrographolide is an active biomolecule isolated from the plant Andrographis paniculata. Andrographolide has been shown to activate nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a redox-sensitive antioxidant transcription factor. As Nrf2 activity is reduced in COPD, we hypothesize that andrographolide may have therapeutic value for COPD.


Andrographolide was given i.p. to BALB/c mice daily 2 h before 4% cigarette smoke exposure for 1 h over five consecutive days. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lungs were collected for analyses of cytokines, oxidative damage markers and antioxidant activities. BEAS-2B bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) and used to study the antioxidant mechanism of action of andrographolide.


Andrographolide suppressed cigarette smoke-induced increases in lavage fluid cell counts; levels of IL-1β, MCP-1, IP-10 and KC; and levels of oxidative biomarkers 8-isoprostane, 8-OHdG and 3-nitrotyrosine in a dose-dependent manner. Andrographolide promoted inductions of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities in lungs from cigarette smoke-exposed mice. In BEAS-2B cells, andrographolide markedly increased nuclear Nrf2 accumulation, promoted binding to antioxidant response element (ARE) and total cellular glutathione level in response to CSE. Andrographolide up-regulated ARE-regulated gene targets including glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic (GCLC) subunit, GCL modifier (GCLM) subunit, GPx, GR and heme oxygenase-1 in BEAS-2B cells in response to CSE.


Andrographolide possesses antioxidative properties against cigarette smoke-induced lung injury probably via augmentation of Nrf2 activity and may have therapeutic potential for treating COPD.

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