Flavonoids: Potential Antiinflammatory Agents

  • Published : 1996.06.01


Flavonoids are widely distributed polyphenol compounds in plant kingdom and known to possess varieties of biological/pharmacological activities in vitro and in vivo. A search for antiinflammatory/immunoregulatory flavonoids as potential therapeutic agents has been continued, since serious side effects of currently used nonsteroidal and steroidal antiinflammatory drugs limit their long term uses for the inflammatory disorders. In this reserch, various flavonids were isolated and tested for their in vivo antiinflammatory activity and in vitro inhibitory activity of lymphocyte proliferation. Using a mouse ear edema assay, it was found that certain flavones/flavonols possess mild antiinflammatory activity and a C-2,3-double bond might be essential. Isoflavones were less active. These flavonoids inhibited in vitro lymphocyte proliferation, relatively specific for T-cell proliferation $(IC_{50}=1-10\;{\mu}M)$ and the inhibition was reversible. We have also tested several biflavonoid derivatives, since we recently found that biflavones were phospholipase $A_2$ inhibitors. It was demonstrated that biflavones such as ochnaflavone and ginkgetin inhibited lymphocyte proliferation induced by both concanavaline A and lipopolysaccharide. The inhibition was irreversible in contrast to that of flavones/flavonols. And antiinflammatory activity of biflavonoids are discussed.