Up-regulation of interleukin-4 production via NF-AT/AP-1 activation in T cells by biochanin A, a phytoestrogen and its metabolites

Jin Park, Su Wol Chung, Seung Hyun Kim, Tae Sung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds derived from plants. Although phytoestrogens exhibit many biological functions including estrogen agonist/antagonist properties, the effect on allergic responses remains unclear. In this study, we investigated whether biochanin A, a phytoestrogen and its metabolites, genistein, p-ethylphenol and phenolic acid, affect production of IL-4, a pro-inflammatory cytokine closely associated with allergic immune responses, in primary CD4+ T cells and EL4 T lymphoma cells. Biochanin A, genistein and p-ethylphenol significantly enhanced IL-4 production from both CD4+ T cells and EL4 cells in a dose-dependent manner, while phenolic acid did not. Biochanin A, genistein and p-ethylphenol also enhanced IL-4 gene promoter activity in EL4 cells transiently transfected with IL-4 promoter constructs, but this effect was impaired in EL4 cells transfected with an IL-4 promoter construct deleted of a P4 site carrying NF-AT and AP-1 binding sites. In addition, biochanin A, genistein and p-ethylphenol increased both NF-AT and AP-1 DNA binding activities, indicating that they might enhance IL-4 production via NF-AT/AP-1 activation. Furthermore, biochanin A, genistein and p-ethylphenol increased p38 MAPK phosphorylation and PKC activity, while they did not affect ERK phosphorylation. The enhanced NF-AT DNA binding activities were suppressed by inhibitors for PI3-K and PKC, but not by p38 MAPK inhibitors. In contrast, the enhanced AP-1 DNA binding activities and p38 MAPK phosphorylation were significantly suppressed by specific inhibitors for PKC and p38 MAPK, but not by PI3-K inhibitors. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that biochanin A, genistein and p-ethylphenol enhance IL-4 production in activated T cells by two independent pathways, PI3-K/PKC/NF-AT and PKC/p38 MAPK/AP-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-199
Number of pages12
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Volume212
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 May 1

Keywords

  • AP-1
  • Allergy
  • Biochanin A
  • Interleukin-4
  • NF-AT
  • T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology

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