Naringenin as a potential immunomodulator in therapeutics

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Naringenin, a citrus flavonoid that possesses various biological activities, has emerged as a potential therapeutic agent for the management of a variety of diseases. Studies using cell culture system have shown that naringenin can inhibit inflammatory response in diverse cell types. Moreover, research using various animal models has further demonstrated therapeutic potentials of naringenin in the treatment of several inflammation-related disorders, such as sepsis, fulminant hepatitis, fibrosis and cancer. The mechanism of action of naringenin is not completely understood but recent mechanistic studies revealed that naringenin suppresses inflammatory cytokine production through both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. Surprisingly, naringenin not only inhibits cytokine mRNA expression but also promotes lysosome-dependent cytokine protein degradation. This unique property of naringenin stands in sharp contrast with some widely-studied natural products such as apigenin and curcumin, which regulate cytokine production essentially at the transcriptional level. Therefore, naringenin may provide modality for the development of novel anti-inflammatory agent. This review article summarizes our recent studies in understanding how naringenin acts in cells and animal models. Particularly, we will discuss the anti-inflammatory activities of naringenin in various disease context and its potential use, as an immunomodulator, in the treatment of inflammatory related disease.

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