Eupatilin downregulates phorbol 12‐myristate 13‐acetateinduced MUC5AC expression via inhibition of p38/ERK/JNK MAPKs signal pathway in human airway epithelial cells
Chronic inflammatory airway diseases, such as chronic rhinosinusitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma, are associated with excessive mucus production. Hence, the regulation of mucus production is important for the treatment of upper and lower airway diseases. Eupatilin is a pharmacologically active ingredient obtained from Artemisia asiatica Nakai (Asteraceae) and exerts potent anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-tumor activities. In the present study, we investigated the effect of eupatilin on phorbol 12‐myristate 13‐acetate (PMA)-induced MUC5AC and MUC5B expression in human airway epithelial cells. We found that eupatilin treatment significantly inhibited PMA-induced mucus secretion in PAS staining. In addition, qRT-PCR results showed that eupatilin dose-dependently decreased the mRNA expression of MUC5AC in human airway epithelial cells. Western blot and immunofluorescence assay also showed that PMA-induced protein expression of MUC5AC was inhibited by eupatilin treatment. Finally, we investigated MAPKs activity after stimulation with PMA using western blot analysis in human airway epithelial cells. The results showed that eupatilin downregulated the levels of phosphorylated p38, ERK, and JNK. In summary, the anti-inflammatory activities of eupatilin, characterized as the suppression of MUC5AC expression and secretion in human airway epithelial cells, were found to be associated with the inhibition of p38/ERK/JNK MAPKs signaling pathway of MUC5AC secretion.