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Verbascoside-rich Abeliophyllum distichum Nakai leaf extracts prevents LPS-induced preterm birth through inhibiting the expression of proinflammatory cytokines from macrophages and cell death of trophoblasts induced by TNF-α

Background: Preterm birth is a known leading cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity. The underlying causes of pregnancy-associated complications are numerous, but infection and inflammation are the essential high-risk factors. However, there are no safe and effective preventive drugs that can be applied to pregnant women. Objective: The objectives of the study were to investigate a natural product, Abeliophyllum distichum leaf (ADL) extract, to examine the possibility of preventing preterm birth caused by inflammation. Methods: We used a mouse preterm birth model by intraperitoneally injecting lipopolysaccharides (LPS). ELISA, Western blot, real-time PCR and immunofluorescence staining analyses were performed to confirm the anti-inflammatory efficacy and related mechanisms of the ADL extracts. Cytotoxicity and cell death were measured using Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) analysis and flow cytometer. Results: A daily administration of ADL extract significantly reduced preterm birth, fetal loss, and fetal growth restriction after an intraperitoneal injection of LPS in mice. The ADL extract prevented the LPS-induced expression of TNF-α in maternal serum and amniotic fluid and attenuated the LPS-induced upregulation of placental proinflammatory genes, including IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12p40, and TNF-α and the chemokine gene CXCL-1, CCL-2, CCL3, and CCL-4. LPS-treated THP-1 cell-conditioned medium accelerated trophoblast cell death, and TNF-α played an essential role in this effect. The ADL extract reduced LPS-treated THP-1 cell-conditioned medium-induced trophoblast cell death by inhibiting MAPKs and the NF-κB pathway in macrophages. ADL extract prevented exogenous TNF-α-induced increased trophoblast cell death and decreased cell viability. Conclusions: We have demonstrated that the inhibition of LPS-induced inflammation by ADL extract can prevent preterm birth, fetal loss, and fetal growth restriction.
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