Momordica charantia Inhibits Inflammatory Responses in Murine Macrophages via Suppression of TAK1.
Am J Chin Med. 2018 Feb 20:1-18. Epub 2018 Feb 20. PMID: 29463104
Woo Seok Yang
Momordica charantia known as bitter melon is a representative medicinal plant reported to exhibit numerous pharmacological activities such as antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antitumor, and hypoglycemic actions. Although this plant has high ethnopharmacological value for treating inflammatory diseases, the molecular mechanisms by which it inhibits the inflammatory response are not fully understood. In this study, we aim to identify the anti-inflammatory mechanism of this plant. To this end, we studied the effects of its methanol extract (Mc-ME) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages. Specifically, we evaluated nitric oxide (NO) production, mRNA expression of inflammatory genes, luciferase reporter gene activity, and putative molecular targets. Mc-ME blocked NO production in a dose-dependent manner in RAW264.7 cells; importantly, no cytotoxicity was observed. Moreover, the mRNA expression levels of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 were decreased by Mc-ME treatment in a dose-dependent manner. Luciferase assays and nuclear lysate immunoblotting analyses strongly indicated that Mc-ME decreases the levels of p65 [a nuclear factor (NF)-[Formula: see text]B subunit] and c-Fos [an activator protein (AP)-1 subunit]. Whole lysate immunoblotting assays, luciferase assays, and overexpression experiments suggested that transforming growth factor [Formula: see text]-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is targeted by Mc-ME, thereby suppressing NF-[Formula: see text]B and AP-1 activity via downregulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) and AKT. These results strongly suggest that Mc-ME exerts its anti-inflammatory activity by reducing the action of TAK1, which also affects the activation of NF-[Formula: see text]B and AP-1.