Magnolol Inhibits LPS-induced NF-κB/Rel activation by blocking p38 kinase in murine macrophages

Mei Hong Li, Gugan Kothandan, Seung Joo Cho, Pham Thi Thu Huong, Yong Hai Nan, Kun Yeong Lee, Song Yub Shin, Sung Su Yea, Young Jin Jeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study demonstrates the ability of magnolol, a hydroxylated biphenyl compound isolated from Magnolia officinalis, to inhibit LPS-induced expression of iNOS gene and activation of NF-κB/Rel in RAW 264.7 cells. Immunohisto-chemical staining of iNOS and Western blot analysis showed magnolol to inhibit iNOS gene expression. Reporter gene assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed that magnolol inhibited NF-κB/Rel transcriptional activation and DNA binding, respectively. Since p38 is important in the regulation of iNOS gene expression, we investigated the possibility that magnolol to target p38 for its anti-inflammatory effects. A molecular modeling study proposed a binding position for magnolol that targets the ATP binding site of p38 kinase (3GC7). Direct interaction of magnolol and p38 was further confirmed by pull down assay using magnolol conjugated to Sepharose 4B beads. The specific p38 inhibitor SB203580 abrogated the LPS-induced NF-κB/Rel activation, whereas the selective MEK-1 inhibitor PD98059 did not affect the NF-κB/Rel. Collectively, the results of the series of experiments indicate that magnolol inhibits iNOS gene expression by blocking NF-κB/Rel and p38 kinase signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-358
Number of pages6
JournalKorean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • B/Rel
  • Macrophages
  • Magnolol
  • NF-κ
  • iNOS
  • p38 kinase


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