Neogambogic acid prevents silica-induced fibrosis via inhibition of high-mobility group box 1 and MCP-1-induced protein 1

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Silicosis is a systemic disease caused by inhaling silicon dioxide (SiO2); early stages are characterized by alveolar inflammation, and later stages are characterized by progressive lung fibrosis. Mounting evidence indicates that high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is involved in pulmonary fibrosis. Whether neogambogic acid (NGA) inhibits macrophage and fibroblast activation induced by SiO2 by targeting HMGB1 remains unclear.

Methods and results:

Experiments using cultured mouse macrophages (RAW264.7 cells) demonstrated that SiO2 treatment induces the expression of HMGB1 in a time- and dose-dependent manner via mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway; in turn, this expression causes macrophage apoptosis and fibroblast activation. Pretreating macrophages with NGA inhibited the HMGB1 expression induced by SiO2 and attenuated both macrophage apoptosis and fibroblast activation. Moreover, NGA directly inhibited MCP-1-induced protein 1 (MCPIP1) expression, as well as markers of fibroblast activation and migration induced by SiO2. Furthermore, the effects of NGA on macrophages and fibroblasts were confirmed in vivo by exposing mice to SiO2.


NGA can prevent SiO2-induced macrophage activation and apoptosis via HMGB1 inhibition and SiO2-induced fibrosis via the MCPIP1 pathway. Targeting HMGB1 and MCPIP1 with NGA could provide insights into the potential development of a therapeutic approach for alleviating the inflammation and fibrosis induced by SiO2.

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