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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 29;8(7):e69555. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069555. Print 2013.

An estrogen receptor dependent mechanism of Oroxylin A in the repression of inflammatory response.

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Tianjin State Key Laboratory of Modern Chinese Medicine, Ministry of Education, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China.


Oroxylin A, a natural flavonoid, is one of the main bioactive compounds that underlie the anti-inflammatory effect of the medicinal herb Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi widely used in southeastern Asia; however, the molecular mechanisms for the therapeutic benefits remain largely unclear. In this study, we found that Oroxylin A induces estrogen-responsive gene expression and promoter activity. In macrophages, Oroxylin A treatment significantly attenuates lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced but not basal inflammatory response, including nitric oxide (NO) production and the expression of inflammatory mediators (i.e., iNOS and COX-2) and cytokines (i.e., TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6), in an estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent manner. Oroxylin A treatment also dramatically decreases LPS-induced secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, the downregulation of all these inflammatory parameters by Oroxylin A was abolished when cells were pretreated with specific ER antagonist. Thus, Oroxylin A is a novel phytoestrogen and exhibits anti-inflammatory effects that are mediated by ER activity.

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