Nobiletin, a bioactive polymethoxylated flavone, has been described to possess a diversity of biological effects through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) is a common substrate for cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP-regulated protein kinases [i.e., cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA; also known as protein kinase A) and cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG; also known as protein kinase G)] and it has been shown to be directly phosphorylated by protein kinase C (PKC). In the present study, we demonstrate that VASP is phosphorylated by nobiletin in human platelets via a non-cyclic nucleotide-related mechanism. This was confirmed by the use of inhibitors of adenylate cyclase (SQ22536) and guanylate cyclase [1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ)], since they prevented VASP phosphorylation induced by nobiletin. Furthormore, this event was also not affected by specific inhibitors of PKA (H-89), PKG (KT5823) and PKC (Ro318220), representing cyclic nucleotide-dependent pathways upon nobiletin-induced VASP phosphorylation. Similarly, inhibitors of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK; SB203580), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2; PD98059), c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1; SP600125), Akt (LY294002) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB; Bay11-7082) did not affect nobiletin.induced VASP phosphorylation. Moreover, electron spin resonance, dichlorofluorescein fluorescence and western blotting techniques revealed that nobiletin did not affect hydroxyl radicals (OH.), intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and on protein carbonylation, respectively. Furthermore, the nobiletin.induced VASP phosphorylation was surprisingly reversed by the intracellular antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), but not by the inhibitor of NADPH oxidase, diphenyleneiodonium chloride (DPI). It was surprising to observe the differential effects of nobiletin and NAC on VASP phosphorylation in human platelets, since they both have been reported to have antioxidant properties. The likely explanation for this discrepancy is that NAC may bind to allosteric sites on the receptor different from those that nobiletin binds to in human platelets. Taken together, our findings suggest that nobiletin induces VASP phosphorylation in human platelets through non-cyclic nucleotide-related mechanisms. Nevertheless, the exact mechanisms responsible for these effects need to be further confirmed in future studies.
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