Andrographolide, a novel NF- B inhibitor, induces vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis via a ceramide-p47phox-ROS signaling cascade

Yu Ying Chen, Ming Jen Hsu, Joen Rong Sheu, Lin Wen Lee, Cheng Ying Hsieh

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Atherosclerosis is linked with the development of many cardiovascular complications. Abnormal proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) plays a crucial role in the development of atherosclerosis. Accordingly, the apoptosis of VSMCs, which occurs in the progression of vascular proliferation, may provide a beneficial strategy for managing cardiovascular diseases. Andrographolide, a novel nuclear factor-B inhibitor, is the most active and critical constituent isolated from the leaves of Andrographis paniculata. Recent studies have indicated that andrographolide is a potential therapeutic agent for treating cancer through the induction of apoptosis. In this study, the apoptosis-inducing activity and mechanisms in andrographolide-treated rat VSMCs were characterized. Andrographolide significantly induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, p53 activation, Bax, and active caspase-3 expression, and these phenomena were suppressed by pretreating the cells with N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a ROS scavenger, or diphenylene iodonium, a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (Nox) inhibitor. Furthermore, p47phox, a Nox subunit protein, was phosphorylated in andrographolide-treated rat VSMCs. However, pretreatment with 3-O-methyl-sphingomyelin, a neutral sphingomyelinase inhibitor, significantly inhibited andrographolide-induced p47phox phosphorylation as well as Bax and active caspase-3 expression. Our results collectively demonstrate that andrographolide-reduced cell viability can be attributed to apoptosis in VSMCs, and this apoptosis-inducing activity was associated with the ceramide-p47phox-ROS signaling cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Article number821813
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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