Flavonoids isolated from loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) leaves inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation induced by cigarette smoke in COPD mice: the role of TRPV1 signaling pathways

Food Funct. 2020 Apr 30;11(4):3516-3526. doi: 10.1039/c9fo02921d.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, progressive lung disease with few successful treatments, and is strongly associated with cigarette smoking (CS). Since the novel coronavirus has spread worldwide seriously, there is growing concern that patients who have chronic respiratory conditions like COPD can easily be infected and are more prone to having severe illness and even mortality because of lung dysfunction. Loquat leaves have long been used as an important material for both pharmaceutical and functional applications in the treatment of lung disease in Asia, especially in China and Japan. Total flavonoids (TF), the main active components derived from loquat leaves, showed remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. However, their protective activity against CS-induced COPD airway inflammation and oxidative stress and its underlying mechanism still remain not well-understood. The present study uses a CS-induced mouse model to estimate the morphological changes in lung tissue. The results demonstrated that TF suppressed the histological changes in the lungs of CS-challenged mice, as evidenced by reduced generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), nitric oxide (NO), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and diminished the protein expression of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1). Moreover, TF also inhibited phosphorylation of IKK, IκB and NFκB and increased p-Akt. Interestingly, TF could inhibit CS-induced oxidative stress in the lungs of COPD mice. TF treatment significantly inhibited the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) and increased the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). In addition, TF markedly downregulated TRPV1 and cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) and upregulated the expression of SOD-2, while the p-JNK level was observed to be inhibited in COPD mice. Taken together, our findings showed that the protective effect and putative mechanism of the action of TF resulted in the inhibition of inflammation and oxidative stress through the regulation of TRPV1 and the related signal pathway in lung tissues. It suggested that TF derived from loquat leaves could be considered to be an alternative or a new functional material and used for the treatment of CS-induced COPD.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cigarette Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / immunology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage*
  • Eriobotrya / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Smoke / adverse effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / immunology
  • TRPV Cation Channels / genetics
  • TRPV Cation Channels / immunology*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Flavonoids
  • Interleukin-6
  • Smoke
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 protein, mouse
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • superoxide dismutase 2