Maslinic acid modulates secreted phospholipase A2-IIA (sPLA2-IIA)-mediated inflammatory effects in macrophage foam cells formation

Wei Hsum Yap, Bee Kee Ooi, Nafees Ahmed, Yang Mooi Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Secretory phospholipase A2-IIA (sPLA2-IIA) is one of the key enzymes causing lipoprotein modification and vascular inflammation. Maslinic acid is a pentacyclic triterpene which has potential cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent research showed that maslinic acid interacts with sPLA2-IIA and inhibits sPLA2-IIA-mediated monocyte differentiation and migration. This study elucidates the potential of maslinic acid in modulating sPLA2-IIA-mediated inflammatory effects in THP-1 macrophages. We showed that maslinic acid inhibits sPLA2-IIA-mediated LDL modification and suppressed foam cell formation. Further analysis revealed that sPLA2-IIA only induced modest LDL oxidation and that inhibitory effect of maslinic acid on sPLA2-IIA-mediated foam cells formation occurred independently of its anti-oxidative properties. Interestingly, maslinic acid was also found to significantly reduce lipid accumulation observed in macrophages treated with sPLA2-IIA only. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that the effect observed in maslinic acid might be contributed in part by suppressing sPLA2-IIA-induced endocytic activity, thereby inhibiting LDL uptake. The study further showed that maslinic acid suppresses sPLA2-IIA-induced up-regulation of PGE2 levels while having no effects on COX-2 activity. Other pro-inflammatory mediators TNF-α and IL-6 were not induced in sPLA2-IIA-treated THP-1 macrophages. The findings of this study showed that maslinic acid inhibit inflammatory effects induced by sPLA2-IIA, including foam cells formation and PGE2 production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • COX-2
  • endocytosis
  • foam cells
  • maslinic acid
  • PGE
  • sPLA-IIA

Cite this