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Cucurbitacin E Potently Modulates the Activity of Encephalitogenic Cells

Jevtic, Bojan, Djedovic, Neda, Stanisavljevic, Suzana, Despotovic, Jovana, Miljkovic, Djordje, Timotijevic, Gordana
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2016 v.64 no.24 pp. 4900-4907
CD4-positive T-lymphocytes, Cucurbitaceae, autoimmunity, central nervous system, interferon-gamma, interleukin-17, macrophages, mitogen-activated protein kinase, nitric oxide, phagocytosis, reactive oxygen species, transcription factor NF-kappa B, triterpenoids
Cucurbitacin E (CucE) is a highly oxidized steroid consisting of a tetracyclic triterpene. It is a member of a Cucurbitacin family of biomolecules that are predominantly found in Cucurbitaceae plants. CucE has already been identified as a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Here, its effects on CD4+ T helper (Th) cells and macrophages, as the major encephalitogenic cells in the autoimmunity of the central nervous system, were investigated. Production of major pathogenic Th cell cytokines: interferon-gamma and interleukin-17 were inhibited under the influence of CucE. The effects of CucE on CD4+ T cells were mediated through the modulation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor, STAT3, NFκB, p38 MAPK, and miR-146 signaling. Further, production of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species, as well as phagocytic ability, were inhibited in macrophages treated with CucE. These results imply that CucE possesses powerful antiencephalitogenic activity.