Inflammation plays a critical defensive role in the human body. However, uncontrolled or aberrant inflammatory responses contribute to various acute and chronic diseases. The Nrf2-ARE pathway plays a pivotal role in the regulation of inflammatory markers, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). On the basis of this concept, we synthesized a novel anti-inflammatory 4,6-bis ((E)-4-hydroxy-3-methoxystyryl)-1-phenethylpyrimidine- 2(1H)-thione (HPT), and in vitro experiments using HepG2-C8 ARE-luciferase- transfected cells demonstrated the induction of Nrf2-ARE activity. In lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 cells, HPT treatment reduced the production of nitric oxide (NO) as well as the protein and mRNA expression levels of COX-2 and iNOS, in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, HPT suppressed the mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. In LPS-induced macrophages, HPT inhibited COX-2 and iNOS by blocking the activation of p38 and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2). Furthermore, an in vivo anti-inflammatory study was performed using a TPA-induced skin inflammation mouse model, and the results showed that HPT reduced TPA-induced inflammation and attenuated the expression of COX-2 and iNOS in TPA-induced mouse skin tissue. Thus, HPT demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity both in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells and TPA-stimulated mouse skin and may therefore serve as a potential anti-inflammatory agent.
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