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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Jun;111(6):1299-306.

Fisetin, a flavonol, inhibits TH2-type cytokine production by activated human basophils.

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  • 1Department III of Internal Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, 2-2 Yamada-oka, Suita City, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.



Activation of mast cells and basophils through allergen stimulation releases chemical mediators and synthesizes cytokines. Among these cytokines, IL-4, IL-13, and IL-5 have major roles in allergic inflammation.


We sought to determine the potency of flavonoids (astragalin, fisetin, kaempferol, myricetin, quercetin, and rutin) for the inhibition of cytokine expression and synthesis by human basophils.


The inhibitory effect of flavonoids on cytokine expression by stimulated KU812 cells, a human basophilic cell line, and freshly purified peripheral blood basophils was measured by means of semiquantitative RT-PCR and ELISA assays. The effects of flavonoids on transcriptional activation of the nuclear factor of activated T cells were assessed by means of electrophoretic mobility shift assays.


Fisetin suppressed the induction of IL-4, IL-13, and IL-5 mRNA expression by A23187-stimulated KU812 cells and basophils in response to cross-linkage of the IgE receptor. Fisetin reduced IL-4, IL-13, and IL-5 synthesis (inhibitory concentration of 50% [IC(50)] = 19.4, 17.7, and 17.4 micromol/L, respectively) but not IL-6 and IL-8 production by KU812 cells. In addition, fisetin inhibited IL-4 and IL-13 synthesis by anti-IgE antibody-stimulated human basophils (IC(50) = 5.1 and 6.2 micromol/L, respectively) and IL-4 synthesis by allergen-stimulated basophils from allergic patients (IC(50) = 4.8 micromol/L). Among the flavonoids examined, kaempferol and quercetin showed substantial inhibitory activities in cytokine expression but less so than those of fisetin. Fisetin inhibited nuclear localization of nuclear factor of activated T cells c2 by A23187-stimulated KU812 cells.


These results provide evidence of a novel activity of the flavonoid fisetin that suppresses the expression of T(H)2-type cytokines (IL-4, IL-13, and IL-5) by basophils.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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