Platelets play a critical role in arterial thrombosis. Rutaecarpine (RUT) was purified from Tetradium ruticarpum, a well-known Chinese medicine. This study examined the relative activity of RUT with NF-κB inhibitors in human platelets. BAY11-7082 (an inhibitor of IκB kinase [IKK]), Ro106-9920 (an inhibitor of proteasomes), and RUT concentration-dependently (1–6 µM) inhibited platelet aggregation and P-selectin expression. RUT was found to have a similar effect to that of BAY11-7082; however, it exhibits more effectiveness than Ro106-9920. RUT suppresses the NF-κB pathway as it inhibits IKK, IκBα, and p65 phosphorylation and reverses IκBα degradation in activated platelets. This study also investigated the role of p38 and NF-κB in cell signaling events and found that SB203580 (an inhibitor of p38) markedly reduced p38, IKK, and p65 phosphorylation and reversed IκBα degradation as well as p65 activation in a confocal microscope, whereas BAY11-7082 had no effects in p38 phosphorylation. The 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay shows that RUT and BAY11-7082 did not exhibit free radical scavenging activity. In the in vivo study, compared with BAY11-7082, RUT more effectively reduced mortality in adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-induced acute pulmonary thromboembolism without affecting the bleeding time. In conclusion, a distinctive pathway of p38-mediated NF-κB activation may involve RUT-mediated antiplatelet activation, and RUT could act as a strong prophylactic or therapeutic drug for cardiovascular diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas