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Anti-inflammatory Analysis: Cytokines (TNF-alpha, interleukins) inhibition in cells

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha is a proinflammatory cytokine (small proteins impacting cell signaling) that triggers downstream cellular feedback loops governing inflammation. TNF-alpha has been identified as an inflammation trigger and precursor. In many anti-inflammation investigation, TNF-alpha inhibitors are sought to function as anti-inflammatory agents that has potential treatment effect for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory diseases. At present, clinically proven TNF-alpha inhibitors are protein-based drugs such as infliximab and etanercept for inflammation diseases treatment. However, these protein-based drugs have potential devastating side effects such as heart failure and neurological changes. Natural plants have therefore become of investigative interests to explore their role as less toxic TNF-alpha inhibitors for inflammation treatment, with natural flavonoids such as quercetin and catechin being shown as TNF-alpha inhibitors without significant known side effects.

In our investigation, we focus on TNF-alpha inhibition evaluation of a nutraceutical material for dietary functional effect in anti-inflammation area. Here, human cells are first treated with or without a test material to allow for natural absorption of the material into the cells. Then, the cells will be stressed with a TNF-alpha inducer, which would normally stimulate TNF-alpha production then further develop into inflammation through series of cellular signaling.  If a TNF-alpha inhibitor presents in the cellular environment, the material inhibits TNF-alpha production and the degree of inhibition can be assessed by level of decreased TNF-alpha production. TNF-alpha production level of the human cells, treated with and without a test material, under the stressed condition will be monitored and compared to assess the TNF-alpha inhibition effect of the test material.

Similar to TNF-alpha, interleukins (e.g., IL-1, IL-6) are inflammatory cytokines that are also of keen interests to be investigated as biomarkers for inflammation. Cellular inhibition of interleukins can be also asessed in this cellular investigation if requested.