Mechanisms of anti-inflammatory property of Anacardium occidentale stem bark: Inhibition of NF-κB and MAPK signalling in the microglia

Olumayokun A. Olajide, Mutalib A. Aderogba, Bernd L. Fiebich

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Anacardium occidentale is used in traditional African medicine for the treatment of arthritis, fever, aches, pains, and inflammation of the extremities. Aim of the study: In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for anti-inflammatory effects of a stem bark extract of A. occidentale (ANE) in LPS-stimulated microglia. Materials and methods: Nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 and cytokine (TNFα and IL-6) production were evaluated in supernatants from LPS-stimulated BV-2 cells. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase (mPGES-1) protein expressions in rat primary microglia were measured using western blot. The effects of ANE on NF-κB activation and nuclear translocation were evaluated in the luciferase reporter gene assay and ELISA, while ability of ANE to influence IκB phosphorylation was determined using ELISA specific for phospho-IκB. The involvement of MAPK phosphorylation in the anti-inflammatory actions of ANE was evaluated using specific ELISA for phospho-p38, phospho-p42/44 and phospho-JNK. The MTT assay was used to determine the effect of ANE on BV-2 microglia viability. Results: ANE (25-100 μg/ml) produced significant (p<0.05) reduction in the production of NO, PGE 2, TNFα and IL-6 in BV-2 microglia stimulated with LPS for 24 h. Pre-treatment with ANE caused a significant (p<0.05) inhibition of COX-2, iNOS and mPGES-1 protein expressions in the rat primary microglia. Further experiments showed that ANE inhibited COX-2 and iNOS protein expression via IκB-mediated nuclear translocation and transactivation of NF-κB. Our studies also revealed that ANE produced significant (p<0.05) and dose-dependent inhibition of p38, p42/44 and JNK MAPK phosphorylation in LPS-activated BV-2 microglia. Conclusions: We conclude that ANE has an anti-inflammatory property related to inhibition of inflammation-associated cytokine production as well as iNOS and COX-2 gene expression by blocking NF-κB and MAPK pathways in the microglia. It is also suggested that mPGES-1 inhibition contributes to the effect of ANE on PGE2 production in the microglia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2013


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