• Angiogenesis;
  • Polymethoxylated flavonoid;
  • Sinensetin;
  • Structure–activity relationship;
  • Zebrafish


Polymethoxylated flavonoids are present in citrus fruit in a range of chemical structures and abundance. These compounds have potential for anticarcinogenesis, antitumor, and cardiovascular protective activity, but the effect on angiogenesis has not been well studied.

Methods and results

Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro and zebrafish (Danio rerio) in vivo models were used to screen and identify the antiangiogenesis activity of seven polymethoxylated flavonoids; namely, hesperetin, naringin, neohesperidin, nobiletin, scutellarein, scutellarein tetramethylether, and sinensetin. Five, excluding naringin and neohesperidin, showed different degrees of potency of antiangiogenesis activity. Sinensetin, which had the most potent antiangiogenesis activity and the lowest toxicity, inhibited angiogenesis by inducing cell cycle arrest in the G0/G1 phase in HUVEC culture and downregulating the mRNA expressions of angiogenesis genes flt1, kdrl, and hras in zebrafish.


The in vivo structure–activity relationship (SAR) analysis indicated that a flavonoid with a methoxylated group at the C3′ position offers a stronger antiangiogenesis activity, whereas the absence of a methoxylated group at the C8 position offers lower lethal toxicity in addition to enhancing the antiangiogenesis activity. This study provides new insight into how modification of the chemical structure of polymethoxylated flavonoids affects this newly identified antiangiogenesis activity.