Ruscogenin (RUS), first isolated from Ruscus aculeatus, also a major steroidal sapogenin of traditional Chinese herb Radix Ophiopogon japonicus, has been found to exert significant anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic activities. Our previous studies suggested that ruscogenin remarkably inhibited adhesion of leukocytes to a human umbilical vein endothelial cell line (ECV304) injured by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in a concentration-dependent manner. Yet the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, the in vivo effects of ruscogenin on leukocyte migration and celiac prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) level induced by zymosan A were studied in mice. Furthermore, the effects of ruscogenin on TNF-α–induced intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation were also investigated under consideration of their key roles in leukocyte recruitment. The results showed that ruscogenin significantly suppressed zymosan A–evoked peritoneal total leukocyte migration in mice in a dose-dependent manner, while it had no obvious effect on PGE2 content in peritoneal exudant. Ruscogenin also inhibited TNF-α–induced over expression of ICAM-1 both at the mRNA and protein levels and suppressed NF-κB activation considerably by decreasing NF-κB p65 translocation and DNA binding activity. These findings provide some new insights that may explain the possible molecular mechanism of ruscogenin and Radix Ophiopogon japonicus for the inhibition of endothelial responses to cytokines during inflammatory and vascular disorders.
The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2008