Polyphenols from Ilex latifolia Thunb. (a Chinese bitter tea) exert anti-atherosclerotic activity through suppressing NF-κB activation and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in macrophages
Ilex latifolia Thunb is a kind of herbal tea and widely consumed as a functional tea beverage in Asian countries. In this study, polyphenols were extracted from I. latifolia and the major compounds were identified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), then the effect on oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL)-induced macrophage foam cell formation was investigated. Results showed that the polyphenols could significantly inhibit ox-LDL-induced macrophage foam cell formation and suppress lipid droplet accumulation and cholesterol uptake in RAW 264.7 cells. Additionally, the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), was significantly inhibited. Moreover, the polyphenols could suppress the expression of lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) and clusters of differentiation 36 (CD 36), which were receptors for ox-LDL. Mechanistically, I. latifolia polyphenols could inhibit macrophage foam cell formation by suppressing NF-κB activation and phosphorylation of ERK1/2.