Artemisinin ameliorates intestinal inflammation by skewing macrophages to the M2 phenotype and inhibiting epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2020 Dec 20 ;91:107284. Epub 2020 Dec 20. PMID: 33359851
BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a self-destructive intestinal disease whose etiology is unclear but complex and the effective treatment is deficient. Increasing evidences have indicated that immune dysfunction and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related intestinal mucosal barrier impaired hold critical position in the pathogenesis of IBD. Artemisinin (ART) is a sesquiterpenoid compound extracted from Chinese herbal medicine which has good immunomodulatory effects. Studies have shown that artemisinin and its analogues have therapeutic effects on a variety of tumors and immune-related disorders. The purpose of current study was to research the effect and mechanism about artemisinin-induced macrophage polarization to M2 phenotype and inhibiting the process of EMT.
METHODS: In vitro, the anti-inflammatory effect of artemisinin is mainly verified by RAW264.7 cells and tissue (colon tissue and PBMC) from CD patients with active intestinal inflammation. RAW264.7 cells stimulated with LPS to induce inflammatory state and ART were used as therapeutic treatment in different concentration. Then the expression levels of pro-inflammatory factors, macrophage polarization and ERK pathway were analyzed. Colon tissue and PBMC from CD patients were treated with ART in different concentrations and macrophage polarization, pro-inflammatory factors expression, EMT-related protein were analyzed. In vivo, DSS-induced colitis mice were treated by ART for seven days. The DAI score was calculated and the colons and spleens were harvested after the animals were sacrificed. The expression of macrophage markers and EMT-related markers in the intestines of mice in each group were monitored by qPCR and western blot.
RESULT: ART treatment could decrease the levels of pro-inflammatory coefficient expressed in theRAW264.7 cells and human PBMC. Moreover, ART could ameliorate the intestinal inflammation in vivo through down-regulating the expression of pro-inflammatory factors, promoting macrophage polarization to M2 phenotype and inhibiting the process of EMT.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, our findings demonstrated that artemisinin might ameliorate inflammation by inducing macrophage polarization to M2 phenotype and inhibiting the process of EMT, suggesting that ART may be applied to the rehabilitation of IBD in the future.