Urolithin A is an active compound of gut-microbiota-derived metabolites of polyphenol ellagic acid that has anti-aging, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the effects of urolithin A on polyinosinic acid-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C))-induced inflammation remain unclear. Poly(I:C) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) similar to a virus and is recognized by Toll-like receptor-3 (TLR3), inducing an inflammatory response in immune cells, such as macrophages. Inflammation is a natural defense process of the innate immune system. Therefore, we used poly(I:C)-induced RAW264.7 cells and attenuated the inflammation induced by urolithin A. First, our data suggested that 1–30 µM urolithin A does not reduce RAW264.7 cell viability, whereas 1 µM urolithin A is sufficient for antioxidation and the decreased production of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and C-C chemokine ligand 5. The inflammation-related proteins cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase were also downregulated by urolithin A. Next, 1 µM urolithin A inhibited the levels of interferon (INF)-α and INF-β. Urolithin A was applied to investigate the blockade of the TLR3 signaling pathway in poly(I:C)-induced RAW264.7 cells. Moreover, the TLR3 signaling pathway, subsequent inflammatory-related pathways, and antioxidation pathways showed changes in nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling and blocked ERK/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. Urolithin A enhanced catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities, but decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in poly(I:C)-induced RAW264.7 cells. Thus, our results suggest that urolithin A inhibits TLR3-activated inflammatory and oxidative-associated pathways in macrophages, and that this inhibition is induced by poly(I:C). Therefore, urolithin A may have antiviral effects and could be used to treat viral-infection-related diseases.
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