Extracts of dietary plants are efficient modulators of nuclear factor kappa B

Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Apr;46(4):1288-97. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2007.09.103. Epub 2007 Nov 5.


Convincing evidence suggest that a plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, but the mechanisms for this association is not fully elucidated. The transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) plays a critical role in cellular stress-, immune- and inflammatory responses. Also, NF-kappa B is identified as a promising therapeutic target both in cancer and chronic inflammation. We used monocytes stably transfected with a NF-kappa B-luciferase reporter construct in a screening of plant extracts for NF-kappa B modulators. Our aim was to identify dietary components which could induce basal NF-kappa B activity to produce a preconditioning effect, or inhibit induction of disease related NF-kappa B activity. When screening 34 dietary plants for their ability to induce basal NF-kappa B activity or inhibit lipopolysaccharide induced NF-kappa B activity we observed that 23 dietary plant extracts induced basal NF-kappa B activity, while 15 extracts attenuate induced NF-kappa B activation. These results indicate that dietary plants contain compounds that efficiently modulate NF-kappa B activity. We suggest dietary modulation of NF-kappa B may contribute to the observed beneficial effects of dietary plants on the risk of chronic diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / drug effects*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Edible / chemistry*
  • Reference Standards
  • Transcription Factor RelA / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factor RelA / genetics
  • Transfection
  • U937 Cells


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • DNA
  • Luciferases