L-F001, a novel multifunctional ROCK inhibitor, suppresses neuroinflammationin vitroandin vivo:Involvement of NF-κB inhibition and Nrf2 pathway activation

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Microglia and astrocytes are largely responsible for inflammatory injury in the brain of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Increasing evidence has indicated that Rho kinase (ROCK) plays an important role in the regulation of neuroinflammation. Previously, we synthesized a new chemical entity L-F001 and proved its potential inhibitory effects on ROCK and oxidative stress. Here, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects and the molecular mechanisms of L-F001 in vitro and in vivo. L-F001 remarkably suppressed lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-elevated expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) as well as LPS-induced production of nitric oxide (NO), reactive oxygen species, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necreactive oxygen speciesis factor-α (TNF-α) in microglial BV-2 cells and in cultured astrocytes. Furthermore, L-F001 inhibited the degradation of IκB and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) p65 subunit. Moreover, L-F001 induced the upregulation of heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and glutamate cysteine ligase modifier subunit (GCLM) expression, two downstream effectors of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2). It was interesting that L-F001 also activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway and induced M1 (CD16/32, M1 marker)/ M2 (CD206, M2 maker) transition in BV-2 cells which was significantly blocked by a PI3K inhibitor, wortmannin. Finally, L-F001 markedly attenuated the level of pro-inflammatory mediators in a murine model of systemic acute brain inflammation induced by LPS. Taken together, these results indicate that the novel multifunctional ROCK inhibitor L-F001 suppresses neuroinflammation in vitro and in vivo via NF-κB inhibition and Nrf2 activation, suggesting that L-F001 may be a promising drug candidate for treating neuroinflammation-associated CNS diseases, including AD.Graphical abstract

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