Lignans 7-hydroxymatairesinol and 7-hydroxymatairesinol 2 exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in human aortic endothelial cells




In the present study, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory properties of several plant lignans most commonly distributed in foods. 7-Hydroxymatairesinol (HMR) and its major isomer 7-hydroxymatairesinol 2 (HMR2), lariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol, and pinoresinol, isolated from Norway spruce knots were examined.

Methods and results

We investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of lignans on tumor necrosis factor-α-treated human aortic endothelial cells by measuring the expression of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 by cell ELISA and the adhesion of U937 monocytes to activated endothelial cells using a cell adhesion assay. Among the lignans studied, HMR and HMR2 significantly reduced intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 levels as well as the adhesion of U937 to endothelial cells. To further characterize the molecular mechanisms involved in this regulation, the effect of HMR and HMR2 on nuclear factor-κB, SAPK/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase and extracellular signal regulated kinase phosphorylation was assessed.


Our results demonstrated that the lignans HMR and HMR2, dominant in cereals such as in wheat, triticale, oat, barley, millet, corn bran, and in amaranth whole grain, exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties in endothelial cells, at least in part, through attenuation of nuclear factor-κB and extracellular signal regulated kinase phosphorylation.