Journal of ethnopharmacology

Astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol are equally effective in inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress-associated TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the endothelium.

PMID 25922268


Astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol are present together in Astragalus membranaceus Moench (Fabaceae) and this study aims to simultaneously investigate their regulation of endothelial homeostasis in the setting of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress). We stimulated endothelial cells with palmitate (PA 100μM) to evoked ROS-associated ER stress and observed the effects of astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol on thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) expression, NLRP3 inflammasome activation and mitochondrion-dependent apoptosis. Astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol inhibited ROS generation and attenuated ER stress inducer IRE1α phosphorylation, indicating the inhibition of ROS-associated ER stress. In response to ER stress, TXNIP expression increased, accompanied with NLRP3 induction and increased IL-1β and IL-6 production, but these alternations were reversed by treatment with astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol, demonstrating the inhibitory effects of astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol on TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Inflammasome activation led to mitochondrial cell death in endothelial cells, whereas astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol restored the loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential with inhibition of caspase-3 activity, and thereby protected cells from ER stress-induced apoptosis. Astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol enhanced AMPK phosphorylation and AMPK inhibitor compound C diminished their beneficial effects, indicative of the potential role of AMPK in their regulation. Astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol suppressed ROS-associated ER stress and then inhibited TXNIP/NLRP3 inflammasome activation with regulation of AMPK activity, and thereby ameliorated endothelial dysfunction by inhibiting inflammation and reducing cell apoptosis. Simultaneous investigations further showed that astragaloside IV and cycloastragenol were equally effective in regulation of endothelial homeostasis.