Honokiol inhibits LPS-induced maturation and inflammatory response of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells

J Cell Physiol. 2011 Sep;226(9):2338-49. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22576.


Honokiol (HNK) is a phenolic compound isolated from the bark of houpu (Magnolia officinalis), a plant widely used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. While substantial evidence indicates that HNK possesses anti-inflammatory activity, its effect on dendritic cells (DCs) during the inflammatory reaction remains unclear. The present study investigates how HNK affects lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated human monocyte-derived DCs. Our experimental results show that HNK inhibits the inflammatory response of LPS-induced DCs by (1) suppressing the expression of CD11c, CD40, CD80, CD83, CD86, and MHC-II on LPS-activated DCs, (2) reducing the production of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-12p70 but increasing the production of IL-10 and TGF-β1 by LPS-activated DCs, (3) inhibiting the LPS-induced DC-elicited allogeneic T-cell proliferation, and (4) shifting the LPS-induced DC-driven Th1 response toward a Th2 response. Further, our results show that HNK inhibits the phosphorylation levels of ERK1/2, p38, JNK1/2, IKKα, and IκBα in LPS-activated DCs. Collectively, the findings show that the anti-inflammatory actions of HNK on LPS-induced DCs are associated with the NF-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biphenyl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / enzymology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Endocytosis / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Lignans / pharmacology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism


  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Cytokines
  • Lignans
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • honokiol
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases