Apocynin: molecular aptitudes

Mediators Inflamm. 2008;2008:106507. doi: 10.1155/2008/106507. Epub 2008 Dec 2.


Apocynin is a naturally occurring methoxy-substituted catechol, experimentally used as an inhibitor of NADPH-oxidase. It can decrease the production of superoxide (O(2)(-)) from activated neutrophils and macrophages while the ability of phagocytosis remains unaffected. The anti-inflammatory activity of apocynin has been demonstrated in a variety of cell and animal models of inflammation. Apocynin, after metabolic conversion, inhibits the assembly of NADPH-oxidase that is responsible for reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. It is, therefore, extensively used to reveal the role of this enzyme in cell and experimental models. Although some of the ROS serve as signaling molecules in the cells, excessive production is damaging and has been implicated to play an important role in the progression of many disease processes. This is why in many studies apocynin presents a promising potential treatment for some disorders; however, its utility with inflammatory diseases remains to be determined. Since its mode of action is not well defined, we tried to get a more precise insight into the mechanisms by which apocynin exerts its activity. Considering the anti-inflammatory activities of apocynin, we may conclude that this compound definitely deserves further study.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetophenones / chemistry
  • Acetophenones / metabolism*
  • Acetophenones / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Cartilage / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Molecular Structure
  • NADPH Oxidases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Acetophenones
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxides
  • acetovanillone
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases