Genistein down-modulates pro-inflammatory cytokines and reverses clinical signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Int Immunopharmacol. 2008 Sep;8(9):1291-7. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2008.05.002. Epub 2008 Jun 2.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common non-traumatic, disabling neurological human inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) models MS and is characterized as a CD4+ T-helper type 1 (Th1) cell-mediated autoimmune disease. It is characterized by an influx of activated leukocytes into the CNS. Genistein, occurring abundantly in soy products, has apoptotic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. In the present report, we investigated the use of genistein for the treatment of the murine model of MS. After induction of EAE with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55 peptide (MOG(35-55)), we observed that genistein treatment ameliorated significantly the clinical symptoms, modulating pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, we analyzed the leukocyte rolling and adherence in the CNS by performing intravital microscopy. Genistein treatment resulted in decreased rolling and adhering of leukocytes as compared to the untreated group. Our data suggest that genistein might be a potential therapy for MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / metabolism
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Genistein / pharmacology*
  • Glycoproteins / toxicity
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • Peptide Fragments / toxicity
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Glycoproteins
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • Peptide Fragments
  • myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (35-55)
  • Interleukin-10
  • Genistein