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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 489810, 8 pages
Research Article

Nanostructured, Self-Assembling Peptide K5 Blocks TNF-α and PGE2 Production by Suppression of the AP-1/p38 Pathway

1Department of Genetic Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 440-746, Republic of Korea
2College of Forest & Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea
3Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G6
4College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 156-756, Republic of Korea

Received 19 September 2011; Accepted 17 November 2011

Academic Editor: Fulvio D'Acquisto

Copyright © 2012 Woo Seok Yang 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.


Nanostructured, self-assembling peptides hold promise for a variety of regenerative medical applications such as 3D cell culture systems, accelerated wound healing, and nerve repair. The aim of this study was to determine whether the self-assembling peptide K5 can be applied as a carrier of anti-inflammatory drugs. First, we examined whether the K5 self-assembling peptide itself can modulate various cellular inflammatory responses. We found that peptide K5 significantly suppressed the release of tumor-necrosis-factor- (TNF-) α and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) from RAW264.7 cells and peritoneal macrophages stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Similarly, there was inhibition of cyclooxygenase- (COX-) 2 mRNA expression assessed by real-time PCR, indicating that the inhibition is at the transcriptional level. In agreement with this finding, peptide K5 suppressed the translocation of the transcription factors activator protein (AP-1) and c-Jun and inhibited upstream inflammatory effectors including mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK), p38, and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 3/6 (MKK 3/6). Whether this peptide exerts its effects via a transmembrane or cytoplasmic receptor is not clear. However, our data strongly suggest that the nanostructured, self-assembling peptide K5 may possess significant anti-inflammatory activity via suppression of the p38/AP-1 pathway.