Paeoniflorin abrogates DSS-induced colitis via a TLR4-dependent pathway

Jingjing Zhang, Wei Dou, Eryun Zhang, Aning Sun, Lili Ding, Xiaohui Wei, Guixin Chou, Sridhar Mani, Zhengtao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Paeonia lactiflora Pall is one of the most well-known herbs in China, Korea, and Japan for more than 1,200 years. Paeoniflorin, the major bioactive component of peony root, has recently been reported to have anticolitic activity. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is unclear. The present study was to explore the possible mechanism of paeoniflorin in attenuating dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. Pre- and coadministration of paeoniflorin significantly reduced the severity of colitis and resulted in downregulation of several inflammatory parameters in the colon, including the activity of myeloperoxidase (MPO), the levels of TNF-α and IL-6, and the mRNA expression of proinflammatory mediators (MCP-1, Cox2, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-17). The decline in the activation of NF-κB p65, ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK correlated with a decrease in mucosal Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) but not TLR2 or TLR5 expression. In accordance with the in vivo results, paeoniflorin downregulated TLR4 expression, blocked nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65, and reduced the production of IL-6 in LPS-stimulated mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cells. Transient transfection assay performed in LPS-stimulated human colon cancer HT-29 cells indicated that paeoniflorin inhibits NF-κB transcriptional activity in a dose-dependent manner. TLR4 knockdown and overexpression experiments demonstrated a requirement for TLR4 in paeoniflorin- mediated downregulation of inflammatory cytokines. Thus, for the first time, the present study indicates that paeoniflorin abrogates DSS-induced colitis via decreasing the expression of TLR4 and suppressing the activation of NF-κB and MAPK pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G27-G36
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • DSS-induced colitis
  • MAPK
  • NF-κB
  • Paeoniflorin
  • TLR4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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