Xanthotoxin suppresses LPS-induced expression of iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, and IL-6 via AP-1, NF-κB, and JAK-STAT inactivation in RAW 264.7 macrophages

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Although xanthotoxin has been reported to possess skin-protective and anti-oxidative properties, its anti-inflammatory capacity has not been studied to date. Therefore, we investigated this role as well as the molecular mechanisms of xanthotoxin in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages. Xanthotoxin inhibited production of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) by the LPS-induced macrophages in a concentration-dependent manner. It also suppressed the LPS-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression at the protein levels and iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, and IL-6 at the mRNA levels. At a molecular level, the effects were related to xanthotoxin-mediated attenuation of the LPS-induced transcriptional and DNA-binding activity of activator protein-1 (AP-1). This attenuation was associated with decreased phosphorylation of c-Fos, but not c-Jun. Xanthotoxin also displayed a suppressive effect on the transcriptional and DNA-binding activity of nuclear transcription factor kappa-B (NF-κB) by inhibiting p65 nuclear translocation. In addition, xanthotoxin significantly reduced the phosphorylation at signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 (STAT1, Ser 727 and Tyr 701) and STAT3 (Tyr 705), as well as Janus kinase (JAK) 1 and 2 in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages. Finally, xanthotoxin suppressed the LPS-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Taken together, these results indicate that xanthotoxin decreases NO, PGE2, TNF-α, and IL-6 production by downregulation of the NF-κB, AP-1, and JAK/STAT signaling pathways in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages.

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