Magnolol suppresses NF-kappaB activation and NF-kappaB regulated gene expression through inhibition of IkappaB kinase activation.

Research paper by Anfernee Kai-Wing AK Tse, Chi-Keung CK Wan, Guo-Yuan GY Zhu, Xiao-Ling XL Shen, Hon-Yeung HY Cheung, Mengsu M Yang, Wang-Fun WF Fong

Indexed on: 24 Jan '07Published on: 24 Jan '07Published in: Molecular Immunology


The mis-regulation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) signal pathway is involved in a variety of inflammatory diseases that leds to the production of inflammatory mediators. Our studies using human U937 promonocytes cells suggested that magnolol, a low molecular weight lignan isolated from the medicinal plant Magnolia officinalis, differentially down-regulated the pharmacologically induced expression of NF-kappaB-regulated inflammatory gene products MMP-9, IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1alpha, TNF-alpha. Pre-treatment of magnolol blocked TNF-alpha-induced NF-kappaB activation in different cell types as evidenced by EMSA. Magnolol did not directly affect the binding of p65/p50 heterodimer to DNA. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that magnolol inhibited the TNF-alpha-stimulated phosphorylation and degradation of the cytosolic NF-kappaB inhibitor IkappaBalpha and the effects were dose-dependent. Mechanistically, a non-radioactive IkappaB kinases (IKK) assay using immunoprecipitated IKKs protein demonstrated that magnolol inhibited both intrinsic and TNF-alpha-stimulated IKK activity, thus suggesting a critical role of magnolol in abrogating the phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaBalpha. The involvement of IKK was further verified in a HeLa cell NF-kappaB-dependent luciferase reporter system. In this system magnolol suppressed luciferase expression stimulated by TNF-alpha and by the transient transfection and expression of NIK (NF-kappaB-inducing kinase), wild type IKKbeta, constitutively active IKKalpha and IKKbeta, or the p65 subunit. Magnolol was also found to inhibit the nuclear translocation and phosphorylation of p65 subunit of NF-kappaB. In line with the observation that NF-kappaB activation may up-regulate anti-apoptotic genes, it was shown in U937 cells that magnolol enhanced TNF-alpha-induced apoptotic cell death. Our results suggest that magnolol or its derivatives may have potential anti-inflammatory actions through IKK inactivation.