Inhibition of RANTES expression by indirubin in influenza virus-infected human bronchial epithelial cells

Nai Ki MAK, Chung Yee Leung, Xiao Yi Wei, Xiao Ling Shen, Ricky N S WONG, Kwok Nam Leung, Ming Chiu Fung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


The human bronchial epithelial cells are the primary sites of influenza virus infection. In this study, the effect of indirubin on the expression of the chemokine regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) by the influenza virus-infected H292 human epithelial cell line was examined. The expression of RANTES mRNA was analyzed using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and the concentration of RANTES production was determined by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. At the non-cytotoxic concentrations, indirubin was found to reduce both the expression and production of RANTES in influenza A/NWS/33-infected H292 cells. Inhibition was also observed in influenza virus B/Lee-infected cells. Significant reduction of the expression of IL-8 was not observed after the infection. Indirubin-3′-oxime, a recently developed derivative with kinase inhibitory activity, also mediates a potent inhibitory effect on the expression of RANTES. The influenza virus infection-induced phosphorylation of the nuclear transcription NF-kB regulatory molecule IkBα and the p38 MAP kinase were also found to be inhibited by indirubin-3′-oxime. This finding suggests that indirubin is one of the components in the Chinese medicinal herbs Isatis indigotica and Strobilanthes cusia with immunomodulatory activity on the expression of RANTES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

User-Defined Keywords

  • IkB
  • Indirubin
  • Indirubin-3′-oxime
  • Influenza
  • p38 MAP kinase


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