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Med Res Rev. 2021 Jul 21. doi: 10.1002/med.21842. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

The sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin from Artemisia annua L. is well established for malaria therapy, but its bioactivity spectrum is much broader. In this review, we give a comprehensive and timely overview of the literature regarding the immunosuppressive activity of artemisinin-type compounds toward inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Numerous receptor-coupled signaling pathways are inhibited by artemisinins, including the receptors for interleukin-1 (IL-1), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), β3-integrin, or RANKL, toll-like receptors and growth factor receptors. Among the receptor-coupled signal transducers are extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase (PI3K), AKT serine/threonine kinase (AKT), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK), phospholipase C γ1 (PLCγ), and others. All these receptors and signal transduction molecules are known to contribute to the inhibition of the transcription factor nuclear factor κ B (NF-κB). Artemisinins may inhibit NF-κB by silencing these upstream pathways and/or by direct binding to NF-κB. Numerous NF-κB-regulated downstream genes are downregulated by artemisinin and its derivatives, for example, cytokines, chemokines, and immune receptors, which regulate immune cell differentiation, apoptosis genes, proliferation-regulating genes, signal transducers, and genes involved in antioxidant stress response. In addition to the prominent role of NF-κB, other transcription factors are also inhibited by artemisinins (mammalian target of rapamycin [mTOR], activating protein 1 [AP1]/FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homologue [FOS]/JUN oncogenic transcription factor [JUN]), hypoxia-induced factor 1α (HIF-1α), nuclear factor of activated T cells c1 (NF-ATC1), Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT), NF E2-related factor-2 (NRF-2), retinoic-acid-receptor-related orphan nuclear receptor γ (ROR-γt), and forkhead box P-3 (FOXP-3). Many in vivo experiments in disease-relevant animal models demonstrate therapeutic efficacy of artemisinin-type drugs against rheumatic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus erythematosus, arthrosis, and gout), lung diseases (asthma, acute lung injury, and pulmonary fibrosis), neurological diseases (autoimmune encephalitis, Alzheimer's disease, and myasthenia gravis), skin diseases (dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis), inflammatory bowel disease, and other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Randomized clinical trials should be conducted in the future to translate the plethora of preclinical results into clinical practice.

PMID:34288018 | DOI:10.1002/med.21842

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