BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: NF-κB-driven inflammation is negatively regulated by the zinc finger protein A20. Gibberellic acid (GA3 ) is a plant-derived diterpenoid with documented anti-inflammatory activity, which is reported to induce A20-like zinc finger proteins in plants. Here, we sought to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of GA3 in airway epithelial cells and determine if the anti-inflammatory action relates to A20 induction.
EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Primary nasal epithelial cells and a human bronchial epithelial cell line (16HBE14o-) were used. Cells were pre-incubated with GA3 , stimulated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa LPS; IL-6 and IL-8 release, A20, NF-κB and IκBα expression were then evaluated. To determine if any observed anti-inflammatory effect occurred via an A20-dependent mechanism, A20 was silenced using siRNA.
KEY RESULTS: Cells pre-incubated with GA3 had significantly increased levels of A20 mRNA (4 h) and protein (24 h), resulting in a significant reduction in IL-6 and IL-8 release. This effect was mediated via reduced IκBα degradation and reduced NF-κB (p65) expression. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory action of GA3 was abolished in A20-silenced cells.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: We showed that A20 induction by GA3 attenuates inflammation in airway epithelial cells, at least in part through its effect on NF-κB and IκBα. GA3 or gibberellin-derived derivatives could potentially be developed into anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases associated with A20 dysfunction.