Inflammation Research

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 461–469 | Cite as

Cucurbitacin E exhibits anti-inflammatory effect in RAW 264.7 cells via suppression of NF-κB nuclear translocation

  • Jing Qiao
  • Li-hui Xu
  • Jian He
  • Dong-yun Ouyang
  • Xian-hui He
Original Research Paper



Cucurbitacin E (CuE), a triterpenoid compound isolated from Cucurbitaceae plants, possesses a wide range of biological activities including anti-inflammatory properties. The present study aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of CuE and the underlying mechanism of action.


The anti-inflammatory effect of CuE was evaluated in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Cell proliferation was assessed using a modified MTT assay. Cell cycle distribution was analyzed by propidium iodide staining. The actin cytoskeleton was examined by immunofluorescent staining. The expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1β was determined by intracellular cytokine staining. G-actin level and nuclear factor (NF)-κB nuclear translocation were detected by immunoblotting.


CuE inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase in RAW 264.7 cells. CuE also suppressed LPS-induced cell spreading and pseudopodia formation. These effects were associated with decreased G-actin level and severe actin aggregation. Moreover, CuE significantly inhibited both TNF-α and IL-1β production in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. This was likely mediated by suppressing LPS-induced nuclear translocation of NF-κB, a critical transcription factor responsible for pro-inflammatory cytokine expression.


CuE displayed anti-inflammatory effects through suppression of NF-κB nuclear translocation leading to a decreased expression of TNF-α and IL-1β in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells.


Cucurbitacin E RAW 264.7 cells Lipopolysaccharides Actin cytoskeleton NF-κB 



This work is supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.81173604), the Specialized Research Program of “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” of China (No.2011ZX09307-303-03), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No.21612411).


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Qiao
    • 1
  • Li-hui Xu
    • 2
  • Jian He
    • 1
  • Dong-yun Ouyang
    • 1
  • Xian-hui He
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Immunobiology, Institute of Tissue Transplantation and ImmunologyJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Cell BiologyJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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