Therapeutic effect of guggulsterone in primary cultured orbital fibroblasts obtained from patients with graves’ orbitopathy

Bo Ram Kim, Jinjoo Kim, Jong Eun Lee, Eun Jig Lee, Jin Sook Yoon

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6 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. Inflammation, hyaluronan production, and adipogenesis are the main pathological events leading to Graves’ orbitopathy (GO). Guggulsterone (GS), a phytosterol found in the resin of the guggul plant, is a well-known treatment for several inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, obesity, and hyperlipidemia. Here we investigated the effects of GS treatment on GO pathology. METHODS. Using primary cultures of orbital fibroblasts from GO patients and non-GO controls, we examined the effects of GS on hyaluronan production and the production of proinflammatory cytokines induced by interleukin (IL)-1β, using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis, western blots, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Further, adipogenic differentiation was evaluated by quantification of Oil Red O staining and assessment of protein levels of peroxisome proliferator activator gamma (PPARγ ), CCAAT-enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBP) α and β, and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 (SREBP-1). RESULTS. Treatment with noncytotoxic concentrations of GS resulted in the dose-dependent inhibition of IL-1β-induced inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and COX-2, at both mRNA and protein levels. The hyaluronan level was also significantly suppressed by GS. Moreover, GS significantly decreased the formation of lipid droplets and expression of PPARγ , C/EBP α/β, and SREBP-1 in a dose-dependent manner. GS pretreatment attenuated the phosphorylation of nuclear factor-kappa B induced by IL-1β. CONCLUSIONS. Our data show significant inhibitory effects of GS on inflammation, production of hyaluronan, and adipogenesis in orbital fibroblasts. To our knowledge, this is the first in vitro preclinical evidence of the therapeutic effect of GS in GO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Bio and Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation funded by the Ministry of Science and Information Communication Technology (2016M3A9E9941746). The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020 The Authors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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