Scientific reports

Tannic acid as a plant-derived polyphenol exerts vasoprotection via enhancing KLF2 expression in endothelial cells.

PMID 28751752


The transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is a critical anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic molecule in vascular endothelium. Enhancing KLF2 expression and activity improves endothelial function and prevents atherosclerosis. However, the pharmacological and molecular regulators for KLF2 are scarce. Using high-throughput luciferase reporter assay to screen for KLF2 activators, we have identified tannic acid (TA), a polyphenolic compound, as a potent KLF2 activator that attenuates endothelial inflammation. Mechanistic studies suggested that TA induced KLF2 expression in part through the ERK5/MEF2 pathway. Functionally, TA markedly decreased monocyte adhesion to ECs by reducing expression of adhesion molecule VCAM1. Using lung ECs isolated from Klf2 +/+ and Klf2 +/- mice, we showed that the anti-inflammatory effect of TA is dependent on KLF2. Collectively, our results demonstrate that TA is a potent KLF2 activator and TA attenuated endothelial inflammation through upregulation of KLF2. Our findings provide a novel mechanism for the well-established beneficial cardiovascular effects of TA and suggest that KLF2 could be a novel therapeutic target for atherosclerotic vascular disease.