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Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Oct 3;521(1-3):9-20. Epub 2005 Sep 19.

Inhibition of iNOS gene expression by quercetin is mediated by the inhibition of IkappaB kinase, nuclear factor-kappa B and STAT1, and depends on heme oxygenase-1 induction in mouse BV-2 microglia.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No.1, Sec1, Jen Ai Rd., Taipei, Taiwan.


In the present study, experiments were performed to explore the action of quercetin, the most widely distributed flavonoids, and its major metabolite, quercetin-3'-sulfate, on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)- and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-induced nitric oxide (NO) production in BV-2 microglia. Quercetin could suppress LPS- and IFN-gamma-induced NO production and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene transcription, while quercetin-3'-sulfate had no effect. LPS-induced IkappaB kinase (IKK), nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and activating protein-1 (AP-1) activation, and IFN-gamma-induced NF-kappaB, signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 (STAT1) and interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) activation were reduced by quercetin. Moreover quercetin was able to induce heme oxygenase-1 expression. To address the involvement of heme oxygenase-1 induction in iNOS inhibition, heme oxygenase-1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide was used. Quercetin-mediated inhibition of NO production and iNOS protein expression were partially reversed by heme oxygenase-1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide, but was mimicked by hemin, a heme oxygenase-1 inducer. The involvement of signal pathways in quercetin-induced heme oxygenase-1 gene expression was associated with tyrosine kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinases activation. All these results suggest quercetin should provide therapeutic benefits for suppression of inflammatory-related neuronal injury in neurodegenerative diseases.

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