Anti-inflammatory activity of mulberrofuran K isolated from the bark of Morus bombycis

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Morus bombycis Koidzumi, commonly known as silkworm mulberry, is a plant belonging to family Moraceae. It has been used in Asian countries as a traditional medicine for treating hypertension, diabetes, and inflammatory disorders. In this study, we isolated eleven compounds from the cortex of M. bombycis and evaluated their inhibitory effects on nitric oxide (NO) production as an indicator of their anti-inflammatory activities using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated murine macrophages. Compound 4 showed the most potent inhibitory activity on NO production. It was identified as mulberrofuran K (MFK). Anti-inflammatory activity of MFK was then carried out using LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. MFK suppressed the production of NO, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)) in a concentration-dependent manner. Western blot analysis revealed that MFK treatment inhibited expression levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). MFK also inhibited transcriptional activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and extracellular-regulated kinases (ERK) 1/2 in LPS-stimulated murine macrophages. These results suggest that MFK, an anti-inflammatory constituents of M. bombycis cortex, has potential as a therapeutic candidates for preventing and treating inflammatory diseases.

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