Ruthenium metal complex has been shown to exert several chemical and biological activities. A series of three novel ruthenium derivatives (TQ 1, 2 and 4) were synthesized to evaluate the anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective activities in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated macrophages and mice liver injury. The hydroxyl radical (OH°) scavenging activity of these derivatives has also been evaluated. The results revealed that among the tested compounds, TQ-4 effectively attenuated LPS-induced abnormal alteration in liver histoarchistructure via reducing alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST). This compound exhibited significant inhibition of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-1β), inflammatory enzyme (iNOS), the component of NF-κB signaling pathway (p65) and JNK phosphorylation in LPS-induced mice liver tissues. In vitro results showed that TQ-4 had the best inhibition of NO production and iNOS expression in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. Mechanistic approach indicated that TQ-4 inhibited the LPS-induced JNK phosphorylation, IκBα degradation, NF-κB p65 phosphorylation and its nuclear translocation, and hydroxyl radical (OH°) productions in RAW 264.7 cells. However, the compounds TQ-1 and 2 had no effects in this study. TQ-4 also inhibited LPS-induced OH° production. This study reveals the protective effect of TQ-4 against LPS-induced acute liver injury, inflammation, and oxidative reaction by destructing JNK/NF-κB signaling pathways. The result of this study may infer that TQ-4 might be a promising ruthenium metal derivative and/or therapeutic agent for treating liver injury.
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