This study investigated whether prunetin significantly affects the secretion, production and gene expression of mucin from cultured airway epithelial cells. Confluent primary rat tracheal surface epithelial (RTSE) cells were pretreated with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for 5 min and then chased for 30 min in the presence of prunetin to assess the effect on mucin secretion using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). At the same time, confluent NCI-H292 cells were pretreated with prunetin for 30 min and then stimulated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) for 24 h, respectively. The MUC5AC mucin gene expression and mucin protein production were measured by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and ELISA. The results were as follows: (1) prunetin significantly suppressed ATP-induced mucin secretion from cultured RTSE cells; (2) prunetin inhibited the production of MUC5AC mucin protein induced by EGF or PMA from NCI-H292 cells; (3) prunetin also inhibited the expression of MUC5AC mucin gene induced by EGF or PMA from NCI-H292 cells. This result suggests that prunetin can regulate the secretion, production and gene expression of mucin, by directly acting on airway epithelial cells. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.