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pISSN 1226-4512 eISSN 2093-3827


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Original Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2021; 25(5): 395-401

Published online September 1, 2021

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Formosanin C attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation through nuclear factor-κB inhibition in macrophages

Limin Yin1,#, Chaohong Shi2,#, Zhongchen Zhang3, Wensheng Wang4, and Ming Li1,*

Departments of 1Pharmacy Intravenous Admixture Services, 2Rehabilitation Center, 3Gastroenterology, and 4Laboratory Medicine, First People’s Hospital of Wenling, Wenling 317500, P.R. China

Correspondence to:Ming Li

#These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received: January 5, 2021; Revised: April 19, 2021; Accepted: May 6, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol, pISSN 1226-4512, eISSN 2093-3827


Extended inflammation and cytokine production pathogenically contribute to a number of inflammatory disorders. Formosanin C (FC) is the major diosgenin saponin found in herb Paris formosana Hayata (Liliaceae), which has been shown to exert anti-cancer and immunomodulatory functions. In this study, we aimed to investigate anti-inflammatory activity of FC and the underlying molecular mechanism. RAW264.7 macrophages were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or pretreated with FC prior to being stimulated with LPS. Thereafter, the macrophages were subjected to analysis of the expression levels of pro-inflammatory mediators, including nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-6, as well as two relevant enzymes, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The analysis revealed that FC administration blunted LPS-induced production of NO and PGE in a dose-dependent manner, while the expression of iNOS and COX-2 at both mRNA and protein levels was inhibited in LPS-stimulated macrophages pre-treated with FC. Moreover, LPS stimulation upregulated mRNA expression and medium release of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL- 6, whereas this effect was blocked upon FC pre-administration. Mechanistic studies showed that inhibitory effects of FC on LPS-induced inflammation were associated with a downregulation of IκB kinase, IκB, and p65/NF-κB pathway. Taken together, these data suggest that FC possesses an inflammation-suppressing activity, thus being a potential agent for the treatment of inflammation-associated disorders.

Keywords: Formosanin C, Inflammation, Lipopolysaccharide, Macrophage, NF-kappa B