The flavonoid agathisflavone directs brain microglia/macrophages to a neuroprotective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant state via regulation of NLRP3 inflammasome

Balbino Lino dos Santos, Cleonice Creusa dos Santos, Janaina R. P. Soares, Karina C. da Silva, Juciele Valeria R. de Oliveira, Gabriele S. Pereira, Fillipe M. de Araújo, Maria de Fátima D. Costa, Jorge Mauricio David, Victor Diogenes A. da Silva, Arthur Morgan Butt, Silvia Lima Costa

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Agathisflavone, purified from Cenostigma pyramidale (Tul.) has been shown to be neuroprotective in in vitro models of glutamate-induced excitotoxicity and inflammatory damage. However, the potential role of microglial regulation by agathisflavone in these neuroprotective effects is unclear. Here we investigated the effects of agathisflavone in microglia submitted to inflammatory stimulus in view of elucidating mechanisms of neuroprotection. Microglia isolated from cortices of newborn Wistar rats were exposed to Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 1 µg/mL) and treated or not with agathisflavone (1 µM). Neuronal PC12 cells were exposed to a conditioned medium from microglia (MCM) treated or not with agathisflavone. We observed that LPS induced microglia to assume an activated inflammatory state (increased CD68, more rounded/amoeboid phenotype). However, most microglia exposed to LPS and agathisflavone, presented an anti-inflammatory profile (increased CD206 and branched-phenotype), associated with the reduction in NO, GSH mRNA for NRLP3 inflammasome, IL1-β, IL-6, IL-18, TNF, CCL5, and CCL2. Molecular docking also showed that agathisflavone bound at the NLRP3 NACTH inhibitory domain. Moreover, in PC12 cell cultures exposed to the MCM previously treated with the flavonoid most cells preserved neurites and increased expression of β-tubulin III. Thus, these data reinforce the anti-inflammatory activity and the neuroprotective effect of agathisflavone, effects associated with the control of NLRP3 inflammasome, standing out it as a promising molecule for the treatment or prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1410
Number of pages25
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2023


  • anti-neuroinflammatory
  • agathisflavone
  • neuroprotection
  • NRLP3 inflammasome

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