Anti-inflammatory effects of flavonoids in neurodegenerative disorders

Eur J Med Chem. 2018 Jun 10;153:105-115. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 7.


Neuroinflammation is one of the main mechanisms involved in the progression of several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson, Alzheimer, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and others. The activation of microglia is the main feature of neuroinflammation, promoting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and resulting in the progressive neuronal cell death. Natural compounds, such as flavonoids, possess neuroprotective potential probably related to their ability to modulate the inflammatory responses involved in neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, pure flavonoids (e.g., quercetin, genistein, hesperetin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate) or enriched-extracts, can reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β and COX-2), down-regulate inflammatory markers and prevent neural damage. This anti-inflammatory activity is primarily related to the regulation of microglial cells, mediated by their effects on MAPKs and NF-κB signalling pathways, as demonstrated by in vivo and in vitro data. The present work reviews the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases, highlighting the potential therapeutic effects of flavonoids as a promising approach to develop innovative neuroprotective strategy.

Keywords: Flavonoids; Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Microglia / pathology
  • NF-kappa B / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • NF-kappa B
  • Neuroprotective Agents