We demonstrate herein that silibinin, a polyphenolic flavonoid compound isolated from milk thistle (Silybum marianum), inhibits LPS-induced activation of macrophages and production of nitric oxide (NO) in RAW 264.7 cells. Western blot analysis showed silibinin inhibits iNOS gene expression. RT-PCR showed that silibinin inhibits iNOS, TNF-α, and IL1β. We also showed that silib-inin strongly inhibits p38 MAPK phosphorylation, whereas the ERK1/2 and JNK pathways are not inhibited. The p38 MAPK inhibitor abrogated the LPS-induced nitrite production, whereas the MEK-1 inhibitor did not affect the nitrite production. A molecular modeling study proposed a binding pose for silibinin targeting the ATP binding site of p38 MAPK (1OUK). Collectively, this series of experiments indicates that silibinin inhibits macrophage activation by blocking p38 MAPK signaling.
- Nitric oxide
- P38 MAPK