Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 6571–6579 | Cite as

Flavones induce immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects by activating cellular anti-oxidant activity: a structure-activity relationship study

  • Soumaya Kilani-Jaziri
  • Nadia Mustapha
  • Imen Mokdad-Bzeouich
  • Dorra El Gueder
  • Kamel Ghedira
  • Leila Ghedira-Chekir
Original Article


Flavonoids impart a variety of biological activities, including anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-genotoxic effects. This study investigated the effects of flavone luteolin and apigenin on immune cell functions, including proliferation, natural killer (NK) cell activity, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity of isolated murine splenocytes. We report for the first time that flavones enhance lymphocyte proliferation at 10 μM. Luteolin and apigenin significantly promote lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated splenocyte proliferation and enhance humoral immune responses. Luteolin induces a weak cell proliferation of lectin-stimulated splenic T cells, when compared to apigenin. In addition, both flavones significantly enhance NK cell and CTL activities. Furthermore, our study demonstrated that both flavones could inhibit lysosomal enzyme activity, suggesting a potential anti-inflammatory effect. The anti-inflammatory activity was concomitant with the cellular anti-oxidant effect detected in macrophages, red blood cells, and splenocytes. We conclude from this study that flavones exhibited an immunomodulatory effect which could be ascribed, in part, to its cytoprotective capacity via its anti-oxidant activity.


Luteolin Apigenin Immunomodulation Cellular anti-oxidant activity NK activity CTL activity 



The authors wish to acknowledge the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Technology of Tunisia for the financial support of this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soumaya Kilani-Jaziri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nadia Mustapha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Imen Mokdad-Bzeouich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dorra El Gueder
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kamel Ghedira
    • 2
  • Leila Ghedira-Chekir
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Dental MedicineUniversity of MonastirMonastirTunisia
  2. 2.Unit of Bioactive and Natural Substances and Biotechnology UR12ES12, Faculty of Pharmacy of MonastirUniversity of MonastirMonastirTunisia

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