3-(2-Oxo-2-phenylethylidene)-2,3,6,7-tetrahydro-1H-pyrazino[2,1-a]isoquinolin-4(11bH)-one (compound 1), a novel potent Nrf2/ARE inducer, protects against DSS-induced colitis via inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome

Yajing Wang, Hong Wang, Chen Qian, Jingjing Tang, Wei Zhou, Xiuting Liu, Qidong You, Rong Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


NLRP3 inflammasome is a key component of the inflammatory process and its dysregulation contributes to IBD for its ability to induce IL-1β release. Previously, we reported that a novel small molecular activator of Nrf2, 3-(2-oxo-2-phenylethylidene)-2,3,6,7-tetrahydro-1H-pyrazino-[2,1-a]isoquinolin-4(11bH)-one (compound 1) can prevent the development of colorectal adenomas in AOM-DSS models. Here we further investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of compound 1 in DSS-induced colitis in C57BL/6 and NLRP3-/- mice, and revealed the possible modulation by compound 1 of NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β release from macrophages. In C57BL/6 mice, oral administration of compound 1 significantly attenuated DSS-induced colonic pathological damage, remarkably inhibited inflammatory cells infiltration and decreased myeloperoxidase (MPO) and IL-1β secretion in colons. In contrast, mice deficient for NLRP3 were less sensitive to DSS-induced acute colitis, and compound 1 treatment exerted no protective effect on DSS-induced intestinal inflammation in NLRP3-/- mice. The protective effect of compound 1 may be attributed to its inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome and Nrf2 activation in colons. Furthermore, compound 1, as a small molecular activator of Nrf2, significantly inhibited NLRP3 inflammasome activation in both THP-1 derived macrophages and bone-marrow derived macrophages, as indicated by reduced expression of NLRP3 and cleaved caspase-1, and lowered IL-1β secretion. Finally, compound 1-induced NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition is through blocking NLRP3 priming step and dependent on Nrf2 activation. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that compound 1 might be a potential agent for the treatment of IBD by targeting Nrf2 and NLRP3 inflammasome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-86
Number of pages16
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • DSS
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • NLRP inflammasome
  • Nrf
  • ROS


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