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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1998 Nov;62(11):2199-204.

Structure-activity relationships of flavonoids and the induction of granulocytic- or monocytic-differentiation in HL60 human myeloid leukemia cells.

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Iwate Industrial Research Institute, Japan.


The flavones apigenin and luteolin strongly inhibited the growth of HL60 cells and induced morphological differentiation into granulocytes. The flavonol quercetin inhibited the cell growth and induced a differentiation marker, i.e., NBT reducing ability. However quercetin-treated cells were not morphologically differentiated into granulocytes. The chalcone phloretin weakly induced NBT reducing ability and a marker of monocytic differentiation alpha-naphthyl butyrate esterase activity in the cells. Quercetin and phloretin appeared to induce the differentiation of HL60 cells into monocytes. The proportion of alpha-naphthyl butyrate esterase-positive cells induced by genistein was less than that of the NBT-positive cells. Some of the nuclei in genistein-treated HL60 cells morphologically changed. Genistein must have induced both granulocytic and monocytic differentiation of HL60 cells. The flavonols galangin and kaempferol, which had fewer hydroxyl group(s) in the B-ring than quercetin, and the flavanone naringenin inhibited the growth but did not induce the differentiation of HL60 cells.

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