The protective effect of Prunella vulgaris ethanol extract against vascular inflammation in TNF-α-stimulated human aortic smooth muscle cells

BMB Rep. 2013 Jul;46(7):352-7. doi: 10.5483/bmbrep.2013.46.7.214.


Atherosclerosis, which manifests as acute coronary syndrome, stroke, and peripheral arterial diseases, is a chronic inflammatory disease of the arterial wall. Prunella vulgaris, a perennial herb with a worldwide distribution, has been used as a traditional medicine in inflammatory disease. Here, we investigated the effects of P. vulgaris ethanol extract on TNF-α-induced inflammatory responses in human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs). We found that P. vulgaris ethanol extract inhibited adhesion of monocyte/macrophage-like THP-1 cells to activated HASMCs. It also decreased expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, E-selectin and ROS, No production in TNF-α-induced HASMCs and reduced NF-kB activation. Furthermore, P. vulgaris extract suppressed TNF-α-induced phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). These results demonstrate that P. vulgaris possesses antiinflammatory properties and can regulate TNF-α-induced expression of adhesion molecules by inhibiting the p38 MAPK/ERK signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aorta / cytology
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • E-Selectin / metabolism
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Prunella / chemistry*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • E-Selectin
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases