NYMC Faculty Publications

Identification of a Kavain Analog with Efficient Anti-inflammatory Effects

Journal Title

Scientific Reports

First Page


Document Type


Publication Date

September 2019




Kavain, a compound derived from Piper methysticum, has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. To optimize its drug properties, identification and development of new kavain-derived compounds was undertaken. A focused library of analogs was synthesized and their effects on Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) elicited inflammation were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The library contained cyclohexenones (5,5-dimethyl substituted cyclohexenones) substituted with a benzoate derivative at the 3-position of the cyclohexanone. The most promising analog identifed was a methylated derivative of kavain, Kava-205Me (5,5-dimethyl-3-oxocyclohex-1-en-1-yl 4-methylbenzoate.) In an in vitro assay of anti-inflammatory effects, murine macrophages (BMM) and THP-1 cells were infected with P. gingivalis (MOI = 20:1) and a panel of cytokines were measured. Both cell types treated with Kava-205Me (10 to 200 mug/ml) showed significantly and dose-dependently reduced TNF-alpha secretion induced by P. gingivalis. In BMM, Kava-205Me also reduced secretion of other cytokines involved in the early phase of inflammation, including IL-12, eotaxin, RANTES, IL-10 and interferon-gamma (p < 0.05). In vivo, in an acute model of P. gingivalis-induced calvarial destruction, administration of Kava-205Me significantly improved the rate of healing associated with reduced soft tissue inflammation and osteoclast activation. In an infective arthritis murine model induced by injection of collagen-antibody (ArthriomAb) + P. gingivalis, administration of Kava-205Me was able to reduce efficiently paw swelling and joint destruction. These results highlight the strong anti-inflammatory properties of Kava-205Me and strengthen the interest of testing such compounds in the management of P. gingivalis elicited inflammation, especially in the management of periodontitis.