, 15:153 | Cite as

The anti-inflammatory effects of formononetin and ononin on lipopolysaccharide-induced zebrafish models based on lipidomics and targeted transcriptomics

  • Liyu Luo
  • Junyi Zhou
  • Haiyu Zhao
  • Miaoxuan FanEmail author
  • Wenyuan GaoEmail author
Original Article



Formononetin (MBHS) and its glycosylated derivative ononin (MBHG), as the major isoflavones, have exhibited the anti-inflammatory impacts on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation. Although various researches have focused on interpreting the pharmaceutical activities of MBHG and MBHS, the molecular mechanisms in zebrafish models are still unclear.


The purpose of the present work is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory effects of MGHG and MBHS based on lipidomics and targeted transcriptomics.


UHPLC-MS was applied for the lipid analyses and RT-PCR was adopted for the mRNA analyses, and the results of different groups were compared for exploring the significantly changed lipids and mRNAs.


The results of lipidomics revealed that phosphatidylcholines (PCs) were drastically down-regulated in the MBHG or MBHS treated LPS-induced inflammatory zebrafish models. Besides, MBHS can also decrease the levels of triacylglycerols (TAGs). For the targeted transcriptomics analyses, 4 cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IFN-γ) and 3 mRNA (JNK1, ERK1 and p38a) involved in the MAPK pathway were down-regulated and IL-10 was up-regulated under the treatment of MBHG or MBHS.


Combining the results of lipidomics and targeted transcriptomics, we indicated that MBHG and MBHS exerted potent anti-inflammatory effects on the LPS-induced zebrafish models through the MyD88 or TRIF MAPK/ERK and MAPK/JNK pathways and the glycerophospholipid, glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor biosynthesis and glycerolipid metabolisms. Our results provided new insights into the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of MBHG or MBHS and supplied an effective method to interpret the pharmacological mechanisms of drugs.


Formononetin Ononin Inflammation Lipidomics Targeted transcriptomics MAPK 



This work was supported by Major International S&T Cooperation Project from Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (2016YFE0129000) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Public Welfare Research Institutes (No. ZZ10-007).

Author contributions

LL, HZ, MF and WG designed the study. LL and JZ were responsible for doing the experiments and analyzing the data. LL wrote the article. HZ, MF and WG revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The experiments based on zebrafish samples were performed in accordance with the guidelines from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) approved by Hunter Biotechnology Co. Ltd. (Hangzhou, China) with the Approval Number as SYXK 2012-0171.

Supplementary material

11306_2019_1614_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1864 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmaceutical Science and TechnologyTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Institute of Chinese Materia MedicaChina Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Beijing Key Laboratory of Analysis and Evaluation on Chinese MedicineBeijing Institute of Drug ControlBeijingChina

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