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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 5843672, 13 pages
Research Article

Morin Attenuates Ovalbumin-Induced Airway Inflammation by Modulating Oxidative Stress-Responsive MAPK Signaling

Department of Respiratory Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, China

Received 17 July 2015; Revised 12 September 2015; Accepted 13 September 2015

Academic Editor: Adam J. Case

Copyright © 2016 Yuan Ma 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.


Asthma is one of the most common inflammatory diseases characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and remodeling. Morin, an active ingredient obtained from Moraceae plants, has been demonstrated to have promising anti-inflammatory activities in a range of disorders. However, its impacts on pulmonary diseases, particularly on asthma, have not been clarified. This study was designed to investigate whether morin alleviates airway inflammation in chronic asthma with an emphasis on oxidative stress modulation. In vivo, ovalbumin- (OVA-) sensitized mice were administered with morin or dexamethasone before challenge. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissues were obtained to perform cell counts, histological analysis, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In vitro, human bronchial epithelial cells (BECs) were challenged by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). The supernatant was collected for the detection of the proinflammatory proteins, and the cells were collected for reactive oxygen species (ROS)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) evaluations. Severe inflammatory responses and remodeling were observed in the airways of the OVA-sensitized mice. Treatment with morin dramatically attenuated the extensive trafficking of inflammatory cells into the BALF and inhibited their infiltration around the respiratory tracts and vessels. Morin administration also significantly suppressed goblet cell hyperplasia and collagen deposition/fibrosis and dose-dependently inhibited the OVA-induced increases in IgE, TNF-α, interleukin- (IL-) 4, IL-13, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and malondialdehyde. In human BECs challenged by TNF-α, the levels of proteins such as eotaxin-1, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, IL-8 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1, were consistently significantly decreased by morin. Western blotting and the 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein assay revealed that the increases in intracellular ROS and MAPK phosphorylation were abolished by morin, implying that ROS/MAPK signaling contributes to the relief of airway inflammation. Our findings indicate for the first time that morin alleviates airway inflammation in chronic asthma, which probably occurs via the oxidative stress-responsive MAPK pathway, highlighting a novel profile of morin as a potent agent for asthma management.