Anti-malarial and cytokine-modulating effects of andrographolide in a murine model of malarial infection.
Trop Biomed. 2019 Sep 1 ;36(3):776-791. PMID: 33597499
W R M Hassan
Malarial pathogenesis involves among others, uncontrolled or excessive cytokine production arising from dysregulated immune responses mounted by the host to eliminate the plasmodial parasite. The ubiquitous serine/threonine kinase, glycogen synthase kinase3β (GSK3β) is a crucial regulator of the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine productions in the inflammatory response to pathogenic infections. Andrographolide, a bioactive compound in Andrographis paniculata, displays GSK3- inhibitory effects. A previous study elsewhere has shown that this compound has antimalarial activity but the molecular basis of its action is yet to be elucidated. Here we aimed to study the anti-malarial activity of andrographolide in a murine model of malarial infection to investigate whether its mechanism of action involves cytokine modulation and inhibition of GSK3β. Andrographolide showed strong and selective anti-plasmodial activity (IC= 13.70±0.71 µM; SI = 30.43) when tested against cultures of P. falciparum 3D7. Intraperitoneal administration of andrographolide (5 mg/kg body weight (bw)) into P. berghei NK65-infected ICR mice resulted in chemo-suppression of 60.17±2.12%, and significantly (P<0.05) improved median survival time of infected mice compared to nontreated control. In addition, andrographolide treatment significantly (P<0.05) decreased the level of serum pro-inflammatory cytokine, IFN-γ (1.4-fold) whilst the anti-inflammatory cytokines, IL-10 and IL-4 were increased 2.3- and 2.6-fold respectively. Western blot analyses revealed that andrographolide treatment of P. berghei NK65-infected mice resulted in an increased level of phosphorylated GSK3β (Ser9) in liver of infected mice.Andrographolide administration also decreased the levels of phosphorylated NF-κB p65 (Ser536) and phosphorylated Akt (Ser473) in liver of malaria- infected animals. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that the cytokine-modulating effect of andrographolide in experimental malarial infection involves at least in part inhibition of NF-κB activation as a consequence of GSK3β inhibition. Based on its cytokine-modulating effects, andrographolide is thus a plausible candidate for adjunctive therapy in malaria subject to clinical evaluations.