Echinacea purpurea root extract inhibits TNF release in response to Pam3Csk4 in a phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase dependent manner.
Cell Immunol. 2015 Jul 13. Epub 2015 Jul 13. PMID: 26190752
David J Fast
Polysaccharides derived from Echinacea have historically been shown to be immunostimulatory. We describe in this work however the anti-inflammatory effect of a water extract of Echinacea purpurea roots (EPRW) that inhibited Pam3Csk4 stimulated production of TNFα by human monocytic THP-1 cells. The polyphenols and alkylamides typically found in Echinacea extracts were absent in EPRW suggesting that the anti-inflammatory component(s) was a polysaccharide. This anti-inflammatory activity was shown to be mediated by the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway as chemical inhibition of PI3K abolished the EPRW anti-inflammatory effect. Demonstration of phosphorylation of Akt and ribosomal S6 proteins, downstream targets of PI3K confirmed EPRW-mediated activation of this pathway. In conclusion, this observation suggests that non-alkylamide/non-polyphenolic phytochemicals from Echinacea may contribute in part to some of the anti-inflammatory therapeutic effects such as reduced severity of symptoms that have been observed in vivo in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections with Echinacea.