Studies have discovered that different extracts of Evodia rutaecarpa and its phytochemicals show a variety of biological activities associated with inflammation. Although rutaecarpine, an alkaloid isolated from the unripe fruit of E. rutaecarpa, has been exposed to have anti-inflammatory properties, the mechanism of action has not been well studied. Thus, this study investigated the molecular mechanisms of rutaecarpine (RUT) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages. RUT reserved the production of nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and interleukin (IL)-1β in the LPS-induced macrophages. RUT showed an inhibitory effect on the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and it also inhibited nuclear transcription factor kappa-B (NF-κB) by hindering IκBα and NF-κB p65 phosphorylation and p65 nuclear translocation. The phospho-PI3K and Akt was concentration-dependently suppressed by RUT. However, RUT not only suggestively reduced the migratory ability of macrophages and their numbers induced by LPS but also inhibited the phospho-Src, and FAK. Taken together, these results indicate that RUT participates a vital role in the inhibition of LPS-induced inflammatory processes in RAW 264.7 macrophages and that the mechanisms involve PI3K/Akt and MAPK-mediated downregulation of NF-κB signaling pathways. Notably, reducing the migration and number of cells induced by LPS via inhibiting of Src/FAK pathway was also included to the anti-inflammatory mechanism of RUT. Therefore, RUT may have potential benefits as a therapeutic agent against chronic inflammatory diseases.
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