Withaferin a associated differential regulation of inflammatory cytokines

Seema Dubey, Hyunho Yoon, Mark Steven Cohen, Prakash Nagarkatti, Mitzi Nagarkatti, Dev Karan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A role of inflammation-associated cytokines/chemokines has been implicated in a wide variety of human diseases. Here, we investigated the regulation of inflammatory cytokines released by monocyte-derived THP-1 cells following treatment with the dietary agent withaferin A (WFA). Membrane-based cytokine array profiling of the culture supernatant from adenosine triphosphate-stimulated WFA-treated THP-1 cells showed differential regulation of multiple cytokines/chemokines. A selected group of cytokines/chemokines [interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), CCL2/MCP-1, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, PDGF-AA, PTX3, cystatin-3, relaxin-2, TNFRSF8/CD30, and ACRP30] was validated at the transcription level using qPCR. In silico analysis for transcriptional binding factors revealed the presence of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) in a group of downregulated cytokine gene promoters. WFA treatment of THP-1 cells blocks the nuclear translocation of NF-kB and corresponds with the reduced levels of cytokine secretion. To further understand the differential expression of cytokines/chemokines, we showed that WFA alters the nigericin-induced co-localization of NLRP3 and ASC proteins, thereby inhibiting caspase-1 activation, which is responsible for the cleavage and maturation of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18. These data suggest that dietary agent WFA concurrently targets NF-κB and the inflammasome complex, leading to inhibition of IL-1β and IL-18, respectively, in addition to differential expression of multiple cytokines/chemokines. Taken together, these results provide a rationale for using WFA to further explore the anti-inflammatory mechanism of cytokines/chemokines associated with inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - Feb 9 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines/chemokines
  • Inflammasome
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • Withaferin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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