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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 640846, 12 pages
Research Article

Methyl Protodioscin from the Roots of Asparagus cochinchinensis Attenuates Airway Inflammation by Inhibiting Cytokine Production

1College of Pharmacy, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Republic of Korea
3College of Pharmacy, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 712-749, Republic of Korea
4College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea

Received 31 March 2015; Revised 14 July 2015; Accepted 21 July 2015

Academic Editor: Orazio Taglialatela-Scafati

Copyright © 2015 Ju Hee Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study was designed to find pharmacologically active compound against airway inflammation from the roots of Asparagus cochinchinensis. The 70% ethanol extract of the roots of A. cochinchinensis (ACE) was found to inhibit IL-6 production from IL-1β-treated lung epithelial cells (A549) and the major constituent, methyl protodioscin (MP), also strongly inhibited the production of IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-) α from A549 cells at 10–100 μM. This downregulating effect of proinflammatory cytokine production was found to be mediated, at least in part, via inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and c-Jun activation pathway. When examined on an in vivo model of airway inflammation in mice, lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) induced acute lung injury, ACE, and MP significantly inhibited cell infiltration in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid by the oral treatment at doses of 100–400 mg/kg and 30–60 mg/kg, respectively. MP also inhibited the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-1β in lung tissue. All of these findings provide scientific evidence supporting the role of A. cochinchinensis as a herbal remedy in treating airway inflammation and also suggest a therapeutic value of MP on airway inflammatory disorders.