Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) 1, that catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step in the degradation of L-tryptophan, has an important immunomodulatory function. The activity of IDO1 increases in various inflammatory diseases, including tumors, autoimmune diseases, and different kinds of inflammation. We evaluated the suppressive effect of plant extracts or phytochemicals on IDO1 induction and activity; sixteen kinds of plants extracts and fourteen kinds of phytochemicals were examined. As a result, the methanol extracts of Myoga flower buds, which are traditional Japanese foods, and labdane-type diterpene galanal derived from Myoga flowers significantly suppressed IDO1 activity. The Lineweaver-Burk plot analysis indicated that galanal is a competitive inhibitor. Galanal attenuated L-kynurenine formation with an IC50 value of 7.7 μM in the assay system using recombinant human IDO1, and an IC50 value of 45 nM in the cell-based assay. Further, mechanistic analysis revealed that galanal interfered with the transcriptional function of the nuclear factor-κB and the interferon-γ signaling pathway. These effects of galanal are important for immune response. Because the inhibitory effect of galanal on IDO1 activity was stronger than that of 1-methyl tryptophan, a tryptophan analog, galanal may have great potential as the novel drug for various immune-related diseases.
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