[6]-Gingerol inhibits COX-2 expression by blocking the activation of p38 MAP kinase and NF-kappaB in phorbol ester-stimulated mouse skin

Oncogene. 2005 Apr 7;24(15):2558-67. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208446.


[6]-Gingerol, a pungent ingredient of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiberaceae), has a wide array of pharmacologic effects. The present study was aimed at unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying previously reported antitumor promoting effects of [6]-gingerol in mouse skin in vivo. One of the well-recognized molecular targets for chemoprevention is cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) that is abnormally upregulated in many premalignant and malignant tissues and cells. In our present study, topical application of [6]-gingerol inhibited COX-2 expression in mouse skin stimulated with a prototype tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Since the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is known to regulate COX-2 induction, we attempted to determine the effect of [6]-gingerol on TPA-induced activation of NF-kappaB. Pretreatment with [6]-gingerol resulted in a decrease in both TPA-induced DNA binding and transcriptional activities of NF-kappaB through suppression of IkappaBalpha degradation and p65 nuclear translocation. Phosphorylation of both IkappaBalpha and p65 was substantially blocked by [6]-gingerol. In addition, [6]-gingerol inhibited TPA-stimulated interaction of phospho-p65-(Ser-536) with cAMP response element binding protein-binding protein, a transcriptional coactivator of NF-kappaB. Moreover, [6]-gingerol prevented TPA-induced phosphorylation and catalytic activity of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase that regulates COX-2 expression in mouse skin. The p38 MAP kinase inhibitor SB203580 attenuated NF-kappaB activation and subsequent COX-2 induction in TPA-treated mouse skin. Taken together, our data suggest that [6]-gingerol inhibits TPA-induced COX-2 expression in mouse skin in vivo by blocking the p38 MAP kinase-NF-kappaB signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catechols
  • Chemoprevention
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Fatty Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mutagens / pharmacology*
  • NF-kappa B / pharmacology*
  • Phorbol Esters / toxicity
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / drug effects
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / pharmacology*
  • Skin
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / pharmacology*


  • Catechols
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Mutagens
  • NF-kappa B
  • Phorbol Esters
  • gingerol
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases