Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 533–541 | Cite as

Honokiol rescues sepsis-associated acute lung injury and lethality via the inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammation

  • Te I. WengEmail author
  • Hsiao Yi Wu
  • Chia Wei Kuo
  • Shing Hwa LiuEmail author



Sepsis has a high mortality rate despite the recent advances in intensive care medicine and antibiotics. Honokiol, a low molecular weight natural product, is known to possess anti-inflammatory activity. Here, we investigate whether honokiol can ameliorate acute lung injury and lethal response in murine models of sepsis.


Mice were intraperitoneally given vehicle or honokiol 30 min after the induction of sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) and endotoxemia by administration of E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS).


The productions of serum tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), nitric oxide (NO), and high mobility group box 1 (HMGB 1) were increased in mice during sepsis, which could be reversed by honokiol. Honokiol could also effectively reduce the increased blood lipid peroxidation and nitrotyrosine in septic mice. Honokiol significantly reversed the inductions of inducible NO synthase and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation in the lungs of mice during sepsis. Honokiol also effectively rescued the lung edema, lung pathological changes, and lethality in septic mice.


These findings suggest that honokiol is capable of suppressing the lethal response and acute lung injury associated with sepsis, and support the potential use of honokiol as a therapeutic agent for the conditions associated with septic shock.


Cecal ligation and puncture Sepsis Acute lung injury Honokiol Animal model 



This study was supported by research grant from the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC97-2320-B-002-020-MY3).

Supplementary material

134_2010_2104_MOESM1_ESM.doc (802 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 802 kb)


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Copyright information

© Copyright jointly held by Springer and ESICM 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic Medicine, College of MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Departments of Emergency MedicineNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Institute of Toxicology, College of MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of UrologyNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipeiTaiwan

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