Potential interaction of natural dietary bioactive compounds with COX-2

J Mol Graph Model. 2011 Sep;30:157-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Jul 12.


Bioactive natural products present in the diet play an important role in several biological processes, and many have been involved in the alleviation and control of inflammation-related diseases. These actions have been linked to both gene expression modulation of pro-inflammatory enzymes, such as cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), and to an action involving a direct inhibitory binding on this protein. In this study, several food-related compounds with known gene regulatory action on inflammation have been examined in silico as COX-2 ligands, utilizing AutoDock Vina, GOLD and Surflex-Dock (SYBYL) as docking protocols. Curcumin and all-trans retinoic acid presented the maximum absolute AutoDock Vina-derived binding affinities (9.3 kcal/mol), but genistein, apigenin, cyanidin, kaempferol, and docosahexaenoic acid, were close to this value. AutoDock Vina affinities and GOLD scores for several known COX-2 inhibitors significatively correlated with reported median inhibitory concentrations (R² = 0.462, P < 0.001 and R² = 0.238, P = 0.029, respectively), supporting the computational reliability of the predictions made by our docking simulations. Moreover, docking analysis insinuate the synergistic action of curcumin on celecoxib-induced inhibition of COX-2 may occur allosterically, as this natural compound docks to a place different from the inhibitor binding site. These results suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of some food-derived molecules could be the result of their direct binding capabilities to COX-2, and this process can be modeled using protein-ligand docking methodologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acid / chemistry
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Celecoxib
  • Computer Simulation
  • Curcumin / chemistry
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / chemistry*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Fish Oils / chemistry*
  • Food
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Lutein / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Protein Binding
  • Pyrazoles / chemistry
  • Sulfonamides / chemistry
  • Thermodynamics


  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Fish Oils
  • Plant Extracts
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Ptgs2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Curcumin
  • Celecoxib
  • Lutein