Leonotis nepetaefolia R. Br., also known as Klip Dagga or Lion's Ear, has traditionally been used as a folk medicine to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism, bronchitis, and asthma; however, the components that exhibit its anti-inflammatory activity have not yet been identified. In the present study, we investigated the effects of three types of diterpenoids, nepetaefuran, leonotinin, and leonotin, which were isolated from L. nepetaefolia R. Br., on the LPS signaling pathway in order to elucidate the anti-inflammatory mechanism involved. Nepetaefuran more potently inhibited the LPS-induced production of NO and CCL2 than leonotinin by suppressing the expression of iNOS mRNA and CCL2 mRNA. On the other hand, leonotin failed to inhibit the production of NO and CCL2 induced by LPS. Although nepetaefuran and leonotinin had no effect on the LPS-induced degradation of IκBα or nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65, they markedly inhibited the transcriptional activity of NF-κB. Nepetaefuran and leonotinin also inhibited the transcriptional activity of the GAL4-NF-κB p65 fusion protein. On the other hand, nepetaefuran, leonotinin and leonotin did not affect the LPS-induced activation of MAP kinase family members such as ERK, p38, and JNK. In addition, inhibitory effect of nepetaefuran and leonotinin on NF-κB activation is well correlated with their ability to induce activation of Nrf2 and ER stress. Taken together, these results demonstrated that nepetaefuran and leonotinin could be the components responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of L. nepetaefolia R. Br. by specifically inhibiting the LPS-induced activation of NF-κB.
ASJC Scopus subject areas