Induction of the anticarcinogenic marker enzyme, quinone reductase, in murine hepatoma cells in vitro by flavonoids

Yashushi Uda, Keith R. Price, Gary Williamson, Michael J.C. Rhodes

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Some flavonoids induce phase II enzymes both in vivo and in vitro. We have determined the structural requirements for this activity by examining the ability of naturally-occurring flavonoids to induce the phase II enzyme, quinone reductase (NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase; EC, in murine Hepalclc7 cells. Hydroxylation of the B ring is not essential for induction, since galangin and kaempferol (with 0 and 1 hydroxyl in the B ring, respectively) are better inducers than quercetin (2 B ring hydroxyls). A 2,3 double bond in the C ring is essential for induction, since taxifolin, which has the same substitution pattern as quercetin but lacks the 2,3 double bond, is not an inducer. This is supported by catechin and epicatechin, which do not possess the 2,3 double bond and are also not inducers. A 3-hydroxyl group increases the activity but is not essential for induction, since apigenin is an inducer but kaempferol (which has the same structure as apigenin but possesses a 3-hydroxyl group) is more effective. The data show that, of the flavonoids, the flavonols are the most effective inducers of quinone reductase activity in Hepalclc7 cells (kaempferol-galangin > quercetin > myricetin-apigenin (a flavone)) and that flavanols and flavans are ineffective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-216
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell culture
  • Detoxification
  • Enzyme induction
  • Flavonoids
  • Quinone reductase

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