Activated human monocytes/macrophages, which increase the levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and pro-inflammatory cytokines, are the essential mechanisms for the progression of sepsis. In the present study, we determined the functions and mechanisms of hirsutanolA (HA), which is isolated from the red alga-derived marine fungus Chondrostereum sp. NTOU4196, on the production of pro-inflammatory mediators produced from lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated THP-1 cells. Our results showed that HA suppressed LPS-triggered MMP-9-mediated gelatinolysis and expression of protein and mRNA in a concentration-dependent manner without effects on TIMP-1 activity. Also, HA significantly attenuated the levels of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β from LPS-treated THP-1 cells. Moreover, HA significantly inhibited LPS-mediated STAT3 (Tyr705) phosphorylation, IκBα degradation and ERK1/2 activation in THP-1 cells. In an LPS-induced endotoxemia mouse model, studies indicated that HA pretreatment improved endotoxemia-induced acute sickness behavior, including acute motor deficits and anxiety-like behavior. HA also attenuated LPS-induced phospho-STAT3 and pro-MMP-9 activity in the hippocampus. Notably, HA reduced pathologic lung injury features, including interstitial tissue edema, infiltration of inflammatory cells and alveolar collapse. Likewise, HA suppressed the induction of phospho-STAT3 and pro-MMP-9 in lung tissues. In conclusion, our results provide pharmacological evidence that HA could be a useful agent for treating inflammatory diseases, including sepsis.
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