Inflammation is a basic way in which the body reacts to infection, irritation or other injury, the key feature being redness, warmth, swelling and pain. An inflammatory reaction directs immune system components to the site of injury or infection, and is manifest by increased blood supply and vascular permeability, which allows chemotactic peptides, neutrophils and mononuclear cells to leave the intravascular compartment [1, 2]. When an inflammatory reaction is uncontrolled and prolonged, the pathogenesis of chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, autoimmune disorder and vascular disease occurs . Because of these reasons, various efforts to regulate inflammatory reactions have been carried, one being to discover dietary phytochemicals capable of suppressing inflammation [4, 5].
Various infecting agents, such as bacteria and pro-inflammatory cytokines, can activate macrophages, which are critical immune cells to regulate innate immunity, through certain receptors. The interaction of Toll like receptor (TLR)-4 with the ligand, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), induces an intracellular signaling cascade that activates the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family, extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK), p38, C-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and adaptor molecules, and ends in the activation of key pro-inflammatory transcription factors such as activator protein (AP)-1 and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) [6, 7]. Eventually, these signaling events lead macrophages to be transcriptionally activated for expressing pro-inflammatory genes including, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and various cytokines [7, 8].
XH-14 is a bioactive component isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza, also known as Danshen. Danshen is purported to promote circulation and relieve stasis in traditional Chinese medicine [9, 10]. XH-14 binds the A1 adenosine receptor with relatively high affinity  and XH-14 and their derivatives can inhibit adipocyte differentiation and induction of the adipokines, visfatin and resistin, in 3T3-L1 adipocytes . Although XH-14 has potent biological and physiological functions, the involvement in regulation of inflammatory reactions remains unknown. In this study, we aimed to investigate therapeutic potential of its medicinal benefits against numerous inflammatory diseases by employing in vitro inflammatory conditions. In particular, because no study has reported the exact molecular target for the anti-inflammatory effects of XH-14, we focused on finding the inhibitory targets of XH-14.