Tanshinone IIA Induces Heme Oxygenase 1 Expression and Inhibits Cyclic Strain-Induced Interleukin 8 Expression in Vascular Endothelial Cells

Shaowei Zhuang, Tzu-Hurng Cheng, Nang Lang Shih, Ju Chi Liu, Jin Jer Chen, Hong Jye Hong, Paul Chan

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Tanshinone IIA is the main effective component of Salvia miltiorrhiza, known as "Danshen," which has been used in many therapeutic remedies in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the direct effects of tanshinone IIA on vascular endothelial cells have not yet been fully described. In the present study, we demonstrated that tanshinone IIA increased heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Western blot analyses and experiments with specific inhibitors indicated tanshinone IIA enhanced HO-1 expression through the activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and the subsequent induction of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) nuclear translocation. In addition, tanshinone IIA inhibited cyclic strain induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression. HO-1 silencing significantly abrogated the repressive effects of tanshinone IIA on strain-induced IL-8 expression, which suggests HO-1 has a role in mediating the effects of tanshinone IIA. This study reports for the first time that tanshinone IIA inhibits cyclic strain-induced IL-8 expression via the induction of HO-1 in endothelial cells, providing valuable new insight into the molecular pathways that may contribute to the effects of tanshinone IIA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016



  • Endothelial Cells
  • Heme Oxygenase-1
  • Interleukin-8
  • Tanshinone IIA
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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