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Immunomodulatory effects of oenothein B (1), a macrocyclic ellagitannin from various Onagraceae species, have been described previously. However, the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory activity of 1 have not been fully clarified. The effects of 1 were investigated on inducible nitric oxide synthase, TLR-dependent and TLR-independent signal transduction cascades, and cytokine expression using murine macrophages (RAW 264.7). Compound 1 (10-60 μg/mL) reduced NO production, iNOS mRNA, and iNOS protein levels in a dose-dependent manner, without inhibition of iNOS enzymatic activity. It reduced the binding of the NF-κB p50 subunit to the biotinylated-consensus sequence and decreased nuclear p65 translocation. Gallic acid as a subunit of the macrocyclic ellagitannin 1 showed a far lower inhibitory activity. Nitric oxide production was reduced by 1 after stimulation using TLR2 (Pam2CSK4) and TLR4 (Kdo2) agonists, but this compound did not inhibit inducible nitric oxide synthesis after stimulation using interferon-gamma. IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha mRNA synthesis was clearly reduced by the addition of 1. Oenothein B (1) inhibits iNOS after stimulation with LPS, TLR2, and TLR4 agonists via inhibition of TLR/NF-κB-dependent inducible nitric oxide and cytokine synthesis independent from IFN-gamma/JAK/STAT pathways. The full molecular structure of this macrocyclic ellagitannin seems to be required for its immunomodulatory actions.

Original publication




Journal article


J Nat Prod

Publication Date





870 - 875


Animals, Hydrolyzable Tannins, Immunologic Factors, Lipopolysaccharides, Macrophages, Mice, Molecular Structure, NF-kappa B, Nitric Oxide, Toll-Like Receptors, Transcription Factor RelA