Antiinflammatory and antiatherogenic effects of the NF-kappaB inhibitor acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid in LPS-challenged ApoE-/- mice

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Feb;28(2):272-7. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.107.155606. Epub 2007 Nov 21.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Boswellia
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • NF-kappa B / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triterpenes
  • acetyl-11-ketoboswellic acid