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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2019 Dec 22. doi: 10.1111/jphp.13219. [Epub ahead of print]

7-methoxyflavanone alleviates neuroinflammation in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated microglial cells by inhibiting TLR4/MyD88/MAPK signalling and activating the Nrf2/NQO-1 pathway.

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Science and Technology Innovation Center, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.



Neuroprotective potential of 7-methoxyflavanone (7MF) and its underlying mechanism was investigated.


Inhibitory effects of 7MF on microglial activation and neuroinflammation were evaluated by employment of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced BV2 microglial cells. Changes in expression of genes and proteins of interest were investigated by RT-qPCR analysis and Western blot analysis. Inhibitory effects of 7MF on microglial overactivation were verified in LPS-treated C57BL/6J mice using ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule-1 (Iba1) in the brain and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in serum as indicators.


In BV2 cells, pretreatment with 7MF antagonized LPS-induced production of inflammatory factors IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Mechanistic studies revealed reduced expression of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), myeloid differentiation factor-88 (MyD88), phosphorylated forms of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (p-JNK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (p-ERK) but increased nuclear accumulation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and cellular expression of NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase-1 (NQO-1) by 7MF. In LPS-treated mice, pretreatment with 7MF reduced the brain level of Iba1 and serum level of IL-6.


7-methoxyflavanone inhibited LPS-stimulated TLR4/MyD88/MAPK signalling and activated Nrf2-mediated transcription of antioxidant protein NQO-1, showing antineuroinflammatory effect, so it is a potential neuroprotective agent.


7-methoxyflavanone; Nrf2/NQO-1 signalling; TLR4/MyD88/MAPK signalling; lipopolysaccharide-induced microglia overactivation; neuroinflammation


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