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Surfactin, one of the most powerful biosurfactants, is a bacterial cyclic lipopeptide. Here, we investigated the anti-neuroinflammatory properties of surfactin in lipoteichoic acid (LTA)-stimulated BV-2 microglial cells. Surfactin significantly inhibited excessive production of the pro-inflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and suppressed the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Subsequent mechanistic studies revealed that surfactin inhibited LTA-induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT-1) activation. However, surfactin increases the phosphorylation of the STAT-3, a component of the homeostatic mechanism causing anti-inflammatory events. We also demonstrated that surfactin induces heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression and nuclear factor-regulated factor-2 (Nrf-2) activation, and that the anti-inflammatory effects of surfactin are abrogated by small interfering RNA-mediated knock-down of HO-1 or Nrf-2. Interestingly, we found that surfactin increased the level of cAMP and induced phosphorylation of cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB) in microglial cells. Furthermore, treatment with the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, H-89, blocked HO-1 induction by surfactin and abolished surfactin's suppressive effects on ROS and NO production. These results indicate that HO-1 and its upstream effector, PKA, play a pivotal role in the anti-neuroinflammatory response of surfactin in LTA-stimulated microglia. Therefore, surfactin might have therapeutic potential for neuroprotective agents to treat inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.▸ Surfactin inhibits proinflammatory mediator synthesis in LTA-activated BV-2 cells. ▸ Surfactin suppresses NF-κB and STAT-1, but potentiates phosphorylation of STAT-3. ▸ Surfactin induces HO-1 expression and Nrf-2 activation. ▸ Surfactin induces cAMP and CREB phosphorylation. ▸ PKA inhibitor blocks HO-1 induction and surfactin's antiinflammatory effects.