Anti-inflammatory effects of methoxyphenolic compounds on human airway cells

Kenneth R. Houser, David K. Johnson, Faoud Ishmael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: The respiratory epithelium plays a central role in the inflammatory response in asthma and other diseases. Methoxyphenolic compounds are purported to be effective anti-inflammatory agents, but their effects on the airway epithelium have not been well characterized. Methods. Human airway cells were stimulated with TNF-α in the presence or absence of 4-substituted methoxyphenols and resveratrol. The expression of various cytokines was measured by qPCR, ELISAs, and protein arrays. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured with a reactive fluorescent probe (3',6'-diacetate-2',7'- dichlorofluorescein). Activation of NF-κB was measured by nuclear translocation and phosphorylation. Ribonuclear protein association with mRNA was assessed with a biotin-RNA affinity isolation assay. Results: Multiple inflammatory mediators were inhibited by methoxyphenols, including: CCL2, CCL5, IL-6, IL-8, ICAM-1, MIF, CXCL1, CXCL10, and Serpin E1. IC 50values were obtained for each compound that showed significant anti-inflammatory activity: diapocynin (20.3 μM), resveratrol (42.7 μM), 2-methoxyhydroquinone (64.3 μM), apocynin (146.6 μM), and 4-amino-2-methoxyphenol (410 μM). The anti-inflammatory activity did not correlate with inhibition of reactive oxygen species production or NF-κB activation. However, methoxyphenols inhibited binding of the RNA-binding protein HuR to mRNA, indicating that they may act post-transcriptionally. Conclusions: Methoxyphenols demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity in human airway cells. More potent compounds that act via similar mechanisms may have therapeutic potential as novel anti-inflammatory agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalJournal of Inflammation
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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