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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 651890, 13 pages
Research Article

Paeonol Attenuates Cigarette Smoke-Induced Lung Inflammation by Inhibiting ROS-Sensitive Inflammatory Signaling

1Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
2Department of Neurosurgery, Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Taipei 11220, Taiwan
3Department of Chest Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei 11217, Taiwan

Received 27 May 2014; Revised 14 July 2014; Accepted 15 July 2014; Published 3 August 2014

Academic Editor: Yuh-Lien Chen

Copyright © 2014 Meng-Han Liu 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.


Cigarette smoking causes persistent lung inflammation that is mainly regulated by redox-sensitive pathways. We have previously reported that cigarette smoke (CS) activates reactive oxygen species- (ROS-) sensitive mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs)/nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling leading to induction of lung inflammation. Paeonol, the main phenolic compound present in the Chinese herb Paeonia suffruticosa, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, whether paeonol has similar beneficial effects against CS-induced lung inflammation remains unclear. Using a murine model, we showed that chronic CS exposure for 4 weeks caused pulmonary inflammatory infiltration, increased lung vascular permeability, elevated lung levels of chemokines, cytokines, and 4-hydroxynonenal (an oxidative stress biomarker), and induced lung inflammation; all of these CS-induced events were suppressed by chronic treatment with paeonol. Using human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs), we demonstrated that cigarette smoke extract (CSE) sequentially increased extracellular and intracellular levels of ROS, activated the MAPKs/NF-κB signaling, and induced interleukin-8 (IL-8); all these CSE-induced events were inhibited by paeonol pretreatment. Our findings suggest a novel role for paeonol in alleviating the oxidative stress and lung inflammation induced by chronic CS exposure in vivo and in suppressing CSE-induced IL-8 in vitro via its antioxidant function and an inhibition of the MAPKs/NF-κB signaling.