Guang-Pheretima, which is originated from Pheretima aspergillum, has been documented in academic Chinese herbal studies for nearly 2000 years for its prominent treating effects of various inflammatory diseases such as asthma, cough and fever. However, the anti-inflammatory activity and mechanism of Guang-Pheretima has been rarely reported. Hence, we investigated the inhibitory effect and the underlying mechanism of Guang-Pheretima aqueous extracts on inflammatory response in RAW 264.7 cells.
RAW 264.7 macrophages were pretreated with various concentrations of Guang-Pheretima decoction (GPD) or protein-free Guang-Pheretima decoction (PF-GPD) and subsequently stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to trigger the inflammatory response. Productions of nitric oxide (NO) were determined by Griess reaction, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). The protein expressions and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) amounts of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 were analyzed by Western Blot and Real-Time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), respectively. Finally, the translocation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB was observed by Western Blot.
GPD of the experimental concentrations showed no anti-inflammatory activity. In contrast, PF-GPD at concentrations of 40–320 μg/mL significantly inhibited NF-κB activation and reduced the production of inflammatory mediators, such as NO, PGE2, TNF-α, as well as the related key synthases including iNOS and COX-2. Moreover, PF-GPD markedly suppressed the release of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β and IL-6.
These results demonstrate the excellent anti-inflammatory properties of PF-GPD, and suggest that Guang-Pheretima may be used to treat and prevent certain inflammatory diseases.