Objective: In this article, we studied the effect of acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKbetaBA), a natural inhibitor of the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB on the development of atherosclerotic lesions in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE-/-) mice.
Methods and results: Atherosclerotic lesions were induced by weekly LPS injection in apoE-/- mice. LPS alone increased atherosclerotic lesion size by approximately 100%, and treatment with AKbetaBA significantly reduced it by approximately 50%. Moreover, the activity of NF-kappaB was also reduced in the atherosclerotic plaques of LPS-injected apoE-/- mice treated with AKbetaBA. As a consequence, AKbetaBA treatment led to a significant downregulation of several NF-kappaB-dependent genes such as MCP-1, MCP-3, IL-1alpha, MIP-2, VEGF, and TF. By contrast, AKbetaBA did not affect the plasma concentrations of triglycerides, total cholesterol, antioxidized LDL antibodies, and various subsets of lymphocyte-derived cytokines. Moreover, AKbetaBA potently inhibited the IkappaB kinase (IKK) activity immunoprecipitated from LPS-stimulated mouse macrophages and mononuclear cells leading to decreased phosphorylation of IkappaB alpha and inhibition of p65/NF-kappaB activation. Comparable AKbetaBA-mediated inhibition was also observed in LPS-stimulated human macrophages.
Conclusions: The inhibition of NF-kappaB activity by plant resins from species of the Boswellia family might represent an alternative for classical medicine treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis.