Flavonoids influence monocytic GTPase activity and are protective in experimental allergic encephalitis

Jerome J A Hendriks, Jacqueline Alblas, Susanne M A Van Der Pol, Eric A F Van Tol, Christine D. Dijkstra, Helga E. De Vries*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


In the chronic disabling disease multiple sclerosis (MS), migration of monocytes across the blood-brain barrier is a crucial step in the formation of new lesions in the central nervous system (CNS). Infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages secrete inflammatory mediators such as oxygen radicals, which contribute to axonal demyelination and damage, resulting in neurological deficits. Flavonoids are compounds occurring naturally in food, which scavenge oxygen radicals and have antiinflammatory properties. To investigate whether they might suppress clinical symptoms in MS, we treated rats sensitized for acute and chronic experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, an experimental model of MS, with flavonoids. We demonstrated that the flavonoid luteolin substantially suppressed clinical symptoms and prevented relapse when administered either before or after disease onset. Luteolin treatment resulted in reduced inflammation and axonal damage in the CNS by preventing monocyte migration across the brain endothelium. Luteolin influenced migration by modulating the activity of Rho GTPases, signal transducers involved in transendothelial migration. Oral administration of luteolin also significantly reduced clinical symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1667-1672
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2004


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Luteolin
  • Macrophage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • RhoA


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