Interferon-γ (IFN-γ), a critical inflammatory cytokine, is primarily produced by T helper 1 (Th1) cells and accelerates the pathogenesis of inflammatory colitis. Pharmacological suppression of IFN-γ production attenuates dysregulated inflammatory responses and may be beneficial for treating inflammatory disease. In this study, we aimed to discover potent anti-inflammatory compounds that suppress IFN-γ production and found that the novel benzoxazole derivatives, 2-((3,4-dichlorophenyl) amino) benzo[d]xazol-5-ol (DCPAB) and 2-((3,4-hydroxyphenyl) amino) benzo[d]xazol-5-ol (HPAB), suppressed IFN-γ production by T cells. Treatment of CD4+ T cells with DCPAB and HPAB selectively inhibited Th1 cell development, and DCPAB more potently suppressed IFN-γ than HPAB did. Interestingly, DCPAB and HPAB significantly suppressed the expression of T-box containing protein expressed in T cells (T-bet) that activates IFN-γ gene transcription. DCPAB additionally suppressed transcriptional activity of T-bet on IFN-γ gene promoter, whereas HPAB had no effect on T-bet activity. IFN-γ suppressive activity of DCPAB and HPAB was impaired in the absence of T-bet but was retrieved by the restoration of T-bet in T-bet-deficient T cells. Furthermore, DCPAB and HPAB attenuated inflammatory colitis development that was induced by CD4+ T cells in vivo. We suggest that the novel benzoxazole derivatives, DCPAB and HPAB, may have therapeutic effects on inflammatory colitis.
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© The Author(s) 2017.