In order to delineate the mechanism involved in the anti-inflammatory activity of rutaecarpine, its effects on the production of prostaglandin (PG) and therein involved enzymes were examined. Rutaecarpine reduced the production of PGE(2) in RAW264.7 cells treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in a dose dependent manner when added to the culture media at the time of stimulation. However, the inhibition of total cellular cyclooxygenase (COX) activity under the same experimental condition was observed only at high concentrations of rutaecarpine. Rutaecarpine did not affected the levels of COX-2 mRNA and protein in macrophages stimulated with LPS. Calcium ionophore A23187 induced-PG production and [(3)H]-arachidonic acid release were significantly decreased by the pretreatment of rutaecarpine for 30 minutes. With the same treatment schedule, however, rutaecarpine failed to alter the activities of cellular COX-1 and COX-2. Collectively, our data suggest that anti-inflammatory effect of rutaecarpine is, at least in part, ascribed to the diminution of PG production through inhibition of arachidonic acid release albeit the nature of its effects on PLA(2) activity remains to be elaborated.
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