Suppression of interleukin (IL)-6 production has beneficial effects against various inflammatory diseases. Through a rapid screening system, we found that nitazoxanide, or 2-acetyloxy-N-(5-nitro-2-thiazolyl) benzamide, which is a well-known antiparasitic agent, suppressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of IL-6 from RAW 264.7 cells and mouse peritoneal macrophages, with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)s) of 1.54 mM and 0.17 mM, respectively. Nitazoxanide also inhibited the LPS-induced expression of IL-6 mRNA in RAW 264.7 cells. To investigate the effects of nitazoxanide in vivo, we orally administered nitazoxanide at a dose of 100mg/kg to mice 2h before a 1-mL intraperitoneal injection of 4% thioglycollate (TG). Six hours after TG injection, plasma IL-6 levels were markedly lower (by 90%) than the levels in vehicle-treated mice. These data suggest that nitazoxanide could be a promising lead compound for agents against various diseases associated with overproduction of IL-6.
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