Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Feb;28(2):253-9.

Cytotoxicity of flavonoids toward cultured normal human cells.

Author information

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Konan University, 8-9-1 Okamoto, Higashinada-ku, Kobe 658-8501, Japan.


The cytotoxicity of flavonoids, including apigenin, eriodictyol, 3-hydroxyflavone, kaempherol, luteolin, naringenin, quercetin, rutin, and taxifolin, toward cultured human normal cells, i.e., human lung embryonic fibroblasts (TIG-1) and human umbilical vein endothelial (HUVE) cells, was examined. When these normal human cells were incubated with each flavonoid in culture medium for 24 h, some of the flavonoids showed considerable cytotoxicity at relatively high concentrations and in a dose-dependent manner. 3-Hydroxyflavone, luteolin, and apigenin were more toxic toward TIG-1 cells than the other flavonoids, and luteolin, 3-hydroxyflavone, and quercetin were more toxic toward HUVE cells. HUVE cells were more vulnerable to flavonoid cytotoxicity than TIG-1 cells. Using 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCF-DA), the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level of flavonoid-treated TIG-1 cells was examined. The ROS level increased significantly in the presence of the flavone apigenin or luteolin or the flavonol 3-hydroxyflavone, quercetin, or kaempherol. These results suggest that these flavones and flavonols exert cytotoxicity through increasing intracellular ROS levels. Further, the incorporation of apigenin, 3-hydroxyflavone, luteolin, and quercetin, which are more toxic, into TIG-1 cells during 24-h incubation was examined. These flavonoids were incorporated into them and the order of their incorporation efficiency was similar to that of their cytotoxicity. In conclusion, some flavonoids are cytotoxic at higher concentrations toward human normal cells. Further, it is suggested that they are incorporated into cells, increase intracellular ROS levels, and then exert cytotoxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for J-STAGE, Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator, Electronic
Loading ...
Support Center