Impact of dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans from Schisandra chinensis on the redox status and activation of human innate immune system cells

Maarit Kortesoja, Elina Karhu, Elin Soffia Olafsdottir, Jona Freysdottir, Leena L. Hanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Redox signaling has been established as an essential component of inflammatory responses, and redox active compounds are of interest as potential immunomodulatory agents. Dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans isolated from Schisandra chinensis, a medicinal plant with widespread use in oriental medicine, have been implicated to possess immunomodulatory properties but their effects on the human innate immune system cells have not been described. In this contribution, data are presented on the impact of schisandrin, schisandrin B and schisandrin C on human monocytic cell redox status, as well as their impact on dendritic cell maturation and T cell activation capacity and cytokine production. In THP-1 cells, levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were elevated after 1 h exposure to schisandrin. Schisandrin B and schisandrin C decreased cellular glutathione pools, which is a phenotype previously reported to promote anti-inflammatory functions. Treatment of human primary monocytes with the lignans during their maturation to dendritic cells did not have any effect on the appearance of surface markers HLA-DR and CD86 but schisandrin B and schisandrin C suppressed the secretion of cytokines interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10 and IL-12 by the mature dendritic cells. Dendritic cells maturated in presence of schisandrin C were further cocultured with naïve CD4+ T cells, resulting in reduced IL-12 production. In THP-1 cells, schisandrin B and schisandrin C reduced the IL-6 and IL-12 production triggered by E. coli lipopolysaccharide and IL-12 production induced by an infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae. In conclusion, the studied lignans act as immunomodulatory agents by altering the cytokine secretion, but do not interfere with dendritic cell maturation. And the observed effects may be associated with the ability of the lignans to alter cellular redox status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-317
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Other keywords

  • Dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans
  • Schisandra chinensis
  • Bólgur
  • Lyfjagerð
  • Lyfjaefnafræði
  • Ónæmiskerfi
  • Ónæmisfræði
  • Lækningajurtir
  • Immunomodulation
  • Lignans


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