Background: The combination of Radix Paeoniae Alba (RPA) and Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (RAM) has long been used as a classic herb pair for the treatment of gynecologic and gastrointestinal diseases, but the underlying mechanisms of the herb pair remain unknown. This study aims to explore the anti-inflammatory potentials of RPA-RAM herb pair and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Methods: The bioactive parts of RPA-RAM were extracted and screened through the inhibitory effects against nitric oxide (NO) production. The effects of optimized RPA-RAM extracts (OPAE) on inflammation-associated mediators were investigated by Western blotting, real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), Enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) and immunofluorescence staining. Results: OPAE potently suppressed the productions of NO, TNF-α, IL-6 and MCP-1 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages, concentration-dependently inhibited protein level of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), dramatically downregulated mRNA expression of iNOS, TNF-α, IL-6 and MCP-1. In addition, OPAE significantly prevented phosphorylation and degradation of inhibitory kappa Bα (IκBα) and subsequently restrained the nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65. Pretreatment with OPAE also attenuated the LPS-induced phosphorylation of ERK, JNK and p38. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrated that OPAE suppressed inflammatory responses in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages by decreasing critical molecules involved in MAPK and NF-κB pathway, suggesting that the herb pair could be a promising therapeutic candidate for inflammation-related diseases.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Herb pair
- Radix Paeoniae Alba
- Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae