Table of Contents
ISRN Pharmacology
Volume 2014, Article ID 784019, 7 pages
Research Article

Preventive Effects of a Kampo Medicine, Kakkonto, on Inflammatory Responses via the Suppression of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Phosphorylation in Lipopolysaccharide-Treated Human Gingival Fibroblasts

1Department of Hard Tissue Research, Graduate School of Oral Medicine, Matsumoto Dental University, Shiojiri, Nagano 399-0781, Japan
2Institute for Oral Science, Graduate School of Oral Medicine, Matsumoto Dental University, Shiojiri, Nagano 399-0781, Japan
3Department of Pharmacology, Matsumoto Dental University, 1780 Gobara, Hirooka, Shiojiri, Nagano 399-0781, Japan

Received 30 November 2013; Accepted 8 January 2014; Published 18 February 2014

Academic Editors: A. Pittaluga and E. M. Urbanska

Copyright © 2014 Hiroyuki Kitamura 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.


Periodontal disease is accompanied by inflammation of the gingiva and destruction of periodontal tissues, leading to alveolar bone loss in severe clinical cases. The chemical mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and cytokines such as interleukin- (IL-)6 and IL-8 have been known to play important roles in inflammatory responses and tissue degradation. In the present study, we investigated the effects of a kampo medicine, kakkonto (TJ-1), on the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), IL-6, and IL-8 by human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Porphyromonas gingivalis. Kakkonto concentration dependently suppressed LPS-induced PGE2 production but did not alter basal PGE2 levels. In contrast, kakkonto significantly increased LPS-induced IL-6 and IL-8 production. Kakkonto decreased cyclooxygenase- (COX-)1 activity to approximately 70% at 1 mg/mL but did not affect COX-2 activity. Kakkonto did not affect cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), annexin1, or LPS-induced COX-2 expression. Kakkonto suppressed LPS-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, which is known to lead to ERK activation and cPLA2 phosphorylation. These results suggest that kakkonto decreased PGE2 production by inhibition of ERK phosphorylation which leads to inhibition of cPLA2 phosphorylation and its activation. Therefore, kakkonto may be useful to improve gingival inflammation in periodontal disease.