Olajide, Olumayokun A., Aderogba, Mutallib A. and Fiebich, B.L. (2013) Mechanisms of Anti-inflammatory Property of Anacardium occidentale Stem Bark: Inhibition of NF-kappaB and MAPK Signaling in the Microglia. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 145 (1). pp. 42-49. ISSN 0378-8741

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.

ANE (25–100 μg/ml) produced significant (p<0.05) reduction in the production of NO, PGE2, 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.

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.

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