Isoeleutherin and eleutherinol, naturally occurring selective modulators of Th cell-mediated immune responses

Jeong Ho Hong, Eun Sun Yu, Ah Reum Han, Joo Won Nam, Eun Kyoung Seo, Eun Sook Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Natural compounds possessing naphthopyran moiety have been attracted by their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral activities, as well as anti-tumor activities. Although chemical structures were critical for the potential biological activities, the detailed functional mechanisms remained unclear. Here, we have studied the effects of naphthopyran derivatives (eleutherin, isoeleutherin, and eleutherinol) on T helper cell-mediated immune responses to understand the mechanisms of their anti-microbial and anti-tumor activities. The study revealed that isoeleutherin, which has 1,4-naphthoquinone ring with α-methyl group, selectively and specifically stimulated IFNγ production through the activation of T-bet gene transcription, thus enhancing Th1-mediated immune responses. However, a natural naphthopyran-4-one, eleutherinol dramatically inhibited both IFNγ and IL-2 productions during Th cell activation by suppressing the gene transcriptions of cytokines. Therefore, we suggest that the chemical modification and chirality of naphthopyran moiety in isoeleutherin and eleutherinol may be critical for the selective modulation of T helper cell-mediated immune responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-282
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Ewha Womans University Research Grant of 2005, National R&D program for Cancer Control of National Cancer Center (0620380) and in part by NCRC program of MOST and KOSEF (R15-2006-020). T-bet-deficient mice were kindly provided by Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher at Harvard University.


  • Eleutherin
  • Eleutherinol
  • IFNγ
  • IL-2
  • Isoeleutherin
  • Naphthopyran
  • Naphthoquinone
  • T helper cell


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