Resveratrol, an edible polyphenolic phytoalexin, improves endothelial dysfunction and attenuates inflammation. However, the mechanisms have not been thoroughly elucidated. Therefore, we investigated the molecular basis of the effects of resveratrol on TNF-α-induced ICAM-1 expression in HUVECs. The resveratrol treatment significantly attenuated the TNF-α-induced ICAM-1 expression. The inhibition of p38 phosphorylation mediated the reduction in ICAM-1 expression caused by resveratrol. Resveratrol also decreased TNF-α-induced IκB phosphorylation and the phosphorylation, acetylation, and translocation of NF-κB p65. Moreover, resveratrol induced the AMPK phosphorylation and the SIRT1 expression in TNF-α-treated HUVECs. Furthermore, TNF-α significantly suppressed miR-221/-222 expression, which was reversed by resveratrol. miR-221/-222 overexpression decreased p38/NF-κB and ICAM-1 expression, which resulted in reduced monocyte adhesion to TNF-α-treated ECs. In a mouse model of acute TNF-α-induced inflammation, resveratrol effectively attenuated ICAM-1 expression in the aortic ECs of TNF-α-treated wild-type mice. These beneficial effects of resveratrol were lost in miR-221/222 knockout mice. Our data showed that resveratrol counteracted the TNF-α-mediated reduction in miR-221/222 expression and decreased the TNF-α-induced activation of p38 MAPK and NF-κB, thereby suppressing ICAM-1 expression and monocyte adhesion. Collectively, our results show that resveratrol attenuates endothelial inflammation by reducing ICAM-1 expression and that the protective effect was mediated partly through the miR-221/222/AMPK/p38/NF-κB pathway.
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