Dietary modification of drug-metabolizing enzyme activities: dose-response effect of flavonoids

J Toxicol Environ Health. 1992 Mar;35(3):141-52. doi: 10.1080/15287399209531604.


The induction of drug-metabolizing enzymes for different dietary flavonoids has been shown previously. The purpose of this study was to determine the threshold effect of these components. Rats were fed diets containing flavone, flavanone, or tangeretin at different levels (20, 50, 200, 500, and 200 ppm). Flavone induced ethoxyresorufin and pentoxyresorufin dealkylase activities at 500 ppm and arylhydrocarbon hydroxylase at 200 ppm. Epoxide hydrolase and glutathion transferase were increased at 200 ppm. UDP-glucuronyl transferases were enhanced at 20 ppm. Flavanone induced pentoxyresorufin dealkylase and arylhydrocarbon hydroxylase at the greatest level. In contrast, epoxide hydrolase and conjugating enzymes were increased at the lowest dose. Significant induction was seen only for ethoxyresorufin deethylase and UDP-glucuronyl transferase with diets containing 2000 ppm tangeretin. We conclude that the threshold effect depends on the chemical structure of the flavonoid and the enzyme activity. Low threshold doses for conjugating enzymes may be important for the anticarcinogenicity properties of these compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Flavanones*
  • Flavones*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology
  • Oxygenases / biosynthesis
  • Oxygenases / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Transferases / biosynthesis
  • Transferases / drug effects*


  • Flavanones
  • Flavones
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Oxygenases
  • Transferases
  • tangeretin
  • flavone
  • flavanone