American journal of physiology. Cell physiology

Heme oxygenase-1 mediates the anti-inflammatory actions of 2'-hydroxychalcone in RAW 264.7 murine macrophages.

PMID 16291820


Chalcones are a group of plant-derived polyphenolic compounds that belong to the flavonoids family, and possess a wide variety of cytoprotective and modulatory functions. Chalcones exert their cytoprotective actions via activation of specific transcriptional factors and upregulation of endogenous defensive pathways, such as phase II enzymes and the stress protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory action of 2'-hydroxychalcone (2-HC) in a model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in RAW 264.7 macrophages and examined the role of HO-1 in this process. Our results demonstrate that 2-HC potently induces HO-1 expression and markedly reduces LPS-mediated nitrite and TNF-alpha production. These effects are accompanied by inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression and abolished by blockade of heme oxygenase activity with either tin protoporphyrin IX or HO-1 small interfering RNA. By using a pharmacological approach and siRNA technology, we also found that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase is a major cellular mediator in 2-HC-induced HO-1 expression. These findings strongly suggest that 2-HC exerts anti-inflammatory actions via activation of the HO-1 pathway and help to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the potential therapeutic value of chalcones.