Br J Pharmacol
Background and PurposeUlinastatin (UTI), a serine protease inhibitor, was recently found to have an anti-inflammatory action. However, the mechanisms mediating this anti-inflammatory effect are not well understood. This study tested the hypothesis that UTI suppresses allergic inflammation by inducing the expression of haem oxygenase 1 (HO1). Experimental ApproachControl mice and mice sensitized (on days 1, 9 and 14) and challenged (on days 21 to 27) with ovalbumin (OVA) were treated with UTI. The effects of UTI on basal expression of HO1 and that induced by OVA challenge were examined. The involvement of UTI-induced HO1 expression in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of UTI was also evaluated. Key ResultsUTI markedly increased basal HO1 protein expression in lungs of control mice in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and augmented HO1 protein expression induced by OVA. The up-regulation of HO1 mediated by UTI in sensitized and OVA-challenged mice was associated with reduced airway inflammation, alleviated tissue injury, reduced oxidant stress and enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities. Inhibition of HO1 activity using HO1 inhibitor, zinc protoporphyrin, attenuated inhibitory effects of UTI on inflammation and oxidant stress, and its stimulant effects on antioxidant enzyme activities. Mechanistic analysis showed that UTI increased nuclear translocation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), stimulated Nrf2 DNA binding activity and concomitantly up-regulated HO1 mRNA expression. Conclusions and ImplicationsUTI is a potent and naturally occurring inducer of HO1 expression. HO1 up-regulation contributes significantly to the anti-inflammatory and organ-protective effects of UTI, which has important research and therapeutic implications.
School of Medicine
Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine