Inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 expression by flavonoids in macrophage J774A.1

Life Sci. 2001 Jan 12;68(8):921-31. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(00)00999-1.


The present study focuses on the effect of various naturally occurring flavonoids (apigenin, galangin, morin, naringenin, quercetin, and silymarin) on nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the macrophage cell line J774A.1. Moreover, we evaluated flavonoid modulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme expression by western blot analysis. Apigenin and quercetin (0.5-50 microM) were the most potent inhibitors of NO production and this effect was concentration-dependent and significant at 5 and 50 microM. These data were consistent with the modulation of iNOS enzyme expression. A similar pattern was observed considering the inhibitory effect of flavonoids on LPS-induced PGE2 release and COX-2 expression. Quercetin, galangin, apigenin, and naringenin markedly decreased PGE2 release and COX-2 expression in a concentration-dependent manner. This study suggests that inhibition of iNOS and COX-2 expression by flavonoids may be one of the mechanisms responsible for their anti-inflammatory effects.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Isoenzymes / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Isoenzymes / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / enzymology
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / metabolism
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / biosynthesis


  • Flavonoids
  • Isoenzymes
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, mouse
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Dinoprostone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide