Oxymatrine blocks the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway, partly downregulating the inflammatory responses of M1 macrophages differentiated from THP-1 monocytes

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  • Publication: Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports
  • Author:Ke Zhang, Youyang Liu, Yunlu Zhao, Qi Guo, Shengjun An, Shuhui Wu
  • DOI citation-doi:10.1016/j.bbrep.2023.101482
  • Date:2023-05-09

Many chronic inflammatory diseases, such as autoimmune inflammation, are associated with M1 macrophages, and the key to their treatment is blocking inflammation. Oxymatrine (OMT), a traditional Chinese medicine, has a marked anti-inflammatory effect. However, its anti-inflammatory target and mechanism in M1 cells remain unclear, which limits its clinical application. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of oxymatrine (OMT) on the M1 inflammatory response. We also determined the relationship between OMT treatment and the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) pathway with OMT treatment. To this end, we induced the differentiation of human peripheral blood monocytes (THP-1) into M1 cells. THP-1 cells were induced with a phorbol ester (phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA)) and differentiated into naïve M0 macrophages. M0 cells were induced into M1 cells using lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The experimental groups were divided into the M0 macrophage group (NC), M1 inflammatory response group (LPS group), and M1 group treated with different concentrations of OMT (LPS + OMT-L, LPS + OMT-M, LPS + OMT-H). The cells in the OMT-treated groups were treated with OMT for 6 h, followed by LPS for 24 h, and the LPS group was treated with LPS only. The resulting supernatants and cells were collected. The secretion levels of NO were detected by the Griess method and the secretion levels of TNF-α and IL-1β in the supernatants were detected by the ELISA method. The secretion levels of these inflammatory factors were reduced in every OMT-treated group compared to the LPS group (P < 0.01), and the most significant reductions were found in the OMT-H group (P < 0.0001). By western blotting, the protein expression levels of TLR4, NF-κB, NLRP3, and Caspase-1 were all found to be downregulated in the cells of OMT-treated groups compared to the LPS group (P < 0.0001). In situ changes in NLRP3 expression were observed using immunofluorescence. The fluorescence intensity of NLRP3 in M1 cells was weaker in all OMT intervention groups than in the LPS group (P < 0.001). In conclusion, OMT has significant anti-inflammatory effects on the M1 inflammatory responses, and the TLR4/NF-κB/NLRP3 pathway was blocked proportional to the concentration of OMT.

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