Plant alkaloid tetrandrine downregulates IB kinases-IB-NF-B signaling pathway in human peripheral blood T cell

Ho LJ, Juan TY, Chao P, Wu WL, Chang DM, Chang SY and Lai JH
Source: Br J Pharmacol
Publication Date: (2004)
Issue: 143(7): 919-927
Research Area:
Immunotherapy / Hematology
Cells used in publication:
T cell, human peripheral blood unstim.
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Nucleofector® I/II/2b
Plant alkaloid tetrandrine (Tet), purified from Chinese herb Han-Fang Chi, is a potent immunomodulator used to treat rheumatic disorders, silicosis and hypertension in mainland China. We previously demonstrated that Tet effectively suppresses cytokine production and proliferation of CD28-costimulated T cells. In the present study, we investigated the possible involvement of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) transcription factors, critical in CD28 costimulation, in Tet-mediated immunosuppression in human peripheral blood T cells. We showed that Tet inhibited NF-kappaB DNA-binding activities induced by various stimuli, including CD28 costimulation. At equal molar concentrations, Tet was as strong as methotrexate in suppressing CD28-costimulated NF-kappaB activities. Since Tet itself did not affect NF-kappaB binding to its corresponding DNA sequence, the results suggested that Tet might regulate NF-kappaB upstream signaling molecules. Further studies demonstrated that Tet could prevent the degradation of IkappaBalpha and inhibit nuclear translocation of p65 by blocking IkappaBalpha kinases alpha and beta activities. In addition, the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases such as c-jun N-terminal kinase, p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase and activator protein-1 DNA-binding activity were all downregulated by Tet. Transfection assays performed in purified human peripheral blood T cells also confirmed the inhibition of NF-kappaB transcriptional activity by Tet. When four Tet analogues were readily compared, dauricine appeared to preserve the most potent inhibition on CD28-costimulated but not on H(2)O(2)-induced NF-kappaB DNA-binding activities. Our results provide the molecular basis of immunomodulation of Tet for being a potential disease-modifying antirheumatic drug in the therapy of autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.