Tanshinone IIA inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced MUC1 overexpression in alveolar epithelial cells

Kedong Zhang, Jian Wang, Hua Jiang, Xiaoming Xu, Sheng Wang, Chenting Zhang, Zhengtu Li, Xuefang Gong, Wenju Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The anti-inflammatory function of tanshinone IIA (TIIA), an active natural compound from Chinese herbal medicine Danshen, has been well recognized, and therefore TIIA has been widely used to treat various inflammatory conditions associated with cardiac and lung diseases. Mucin 1 (Muc1) plays important anti-inflammatory roles in resolution of acute lung inflammation. In this study, we investigated the effects of TIIA on LPSinduced acute lung inflammation, as well as its relationship to Muc1 expression in mouse lung and MUC1 in human alveolar epithelial cells. TIIA pretreatment significantly inhibited LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation in both Muc1 wild-type (Muc1-/-) and knockout (Muc1-/-) mice, as manifested by reduced neutrophil infiltration and reduced TNF-α and keratinocyte chemoattractant levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. The inhibitory effects of TIIA on airway inflammation were associated with reduced expression of Muc1 in Muc1-/- mouse lung. Moreover, pretreatment with TIIA significantly inhibited LPS-induced MUC1 expression and TNF-α release in A549 alveolar epithelial cells. TNF-α upregulated MUC1 mRNA and protein expression in A549 cells, which was inhibited by pretreatment with TIIA. The LPS-induced MUC1 expression was blocked when A549 cells were transfected with siRNA targeting for TNF-α receptor 1. Furthermore, TIIA inhibited LPS-induced nuclear translocation of NF-κB and upregulation of Toll-like receptor 4 in A549 cells. Taken together, these results demonstrate that TIIA suppressed LPS-induced acute lung inflammation regardless of the presence of Muc1, and TIIA inhibited LPS- and TNF-α-induced MUC1/Muc1 expression in airway epithelial cells, suggesting that MUC1/Muc1 does not account for the mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory effects of TIIA in the airway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C59-C65
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Alveolar epithelial cells
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Mucin 1
  • Tanshinone IIA
  • Toll-like receptor 4
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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