Since the anti-inflammatory activity of arachidonic acid derivatives was previously reported, we synthesized three new amide derivatives of arachidonic acid (AA-Ds) and tested their anti-inflammatory effects on an in vitro skin inflammation model. Aim of our study was to find derivatives of natural compounds able to down regulate inflammatory signal transduction pathway. Methods: Human keratinocytes cell line (HaCaT) was cultured and induced by cytokines in the presence of AA-Ds. Cytokines administration elicited an inflammatory response mediated by NF-κB and STAT-1 activation that induced pro-inflammatory genes expression. Results: By real time PCR we found that 24 hours after induction all AA-Ds significantly inhibit inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS), TNFα, Inhibitor α of NF-κB, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 9 and 10 genes expression. We analyzed their molecular effects in particular on the iNOS gene expression. Since iNOS transcript half-life did not change with AA-Ds treatment, we excluded a prominent role of post-transcriptional regulation for this gene and focused our attention on its transcriptional regulation. Starting three-five hours after cytokines induction, HaCaT cells, pre-treated with each compound, showed inhibition of both NF-κB DNA-binding and NF-κB p65-Ser536 phosphorylation. STAT1 activation was inhibited only by AA-D4 derivative. To explain why the inhibition of iNOS expression began late after induction we analyzed activities of others key transcription factors. AA-Ds treatment elicited early increases of AP1 DNA binding as well as c-Jun, c-Fos and Fra-1 mRNA levels. Our data agree with the repressing effects of AP1 on human iNOS promoter previously described in others cell systems (Kleinert et al). Conclusion: AA-Ds show to be good candidates as inhibitors of several pro-inflammatory genes induction and our study provides indications for their possible use as new anti-inflammatory drugs.
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