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Int J Neurosci. 2011 Jun;121(6):329-36. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2011.569040.

Luteolin inhibits microglial inflammation and improves neuron survival against inflammation.

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  • 1Department of Pathophysiology, Institute of Brain Research, Key Laboratory of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People's Republic of China, School of Medicine, JiNan University, Guangzhou 510632, Guangdong, China.


Microglia activation is one of the causative factors for neuroinflammation, which results in brain damage during neurodegenerative disease. Accumulating evidence has shown that the flavonoid luteolin (Lut) possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties; however, its effect on microglia inhibition is currently unknown. Moreover, it is not clear whether Lut also has indirect neuroprotective effects by reducing inflammatory mediators and suppressing microglia activation. In this study, we examined the effects of Lut on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced proinflammatory mediator production and signaling pathways in murine BV2 microglia. In addition, we cocultured microglia and neurons to observe the indirect neuroprotective effects of Lut. Lut inhibited the LPS-stimulated expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) as well as the production of nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)). Moreover, Lut blocked LPS-induced nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation. Preincubation of microglia with Lut diminished the neurotoxic effects, owing to the direct anti-inflammatory effects of the compound. Taken together, our findings suggest that Lut may have a potential therapeutic application in the treatment of neuroinflammatory disorders.

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