• Sophora flavescens;
  • Leguminosae;
  • Flavonoid, NF-κB-luciferase assay;
  • RT-PCR;
  • PPRE-luciferase assay

Anti-inflammatory and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) transactivational effects of nine compounds (1 − 9) from the roots of Sophora flavescens were evaluated using NF-κB-luciferase, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, peroxisome proliferator response element (PPRE)-luciferase, and GAL-4-PPAR chimera assays. Compounds 4 and 8 significantly inhibited TNFα-induced NF-κB transcriptional activity in HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner, with IC50 values of 4.0 and 4.4 μM, respectively. Furthermore, the transcriptional inhibitory function of these compounds was confirmed by a decrease in cyclooxgenase 2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase gene expression levels in HepG2 cells. Compounds 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 significantly activated the transcription of PPARs in a dose-dependent manner, with EC50 values ranging from 1.1 to 13.0 μM. Compounds 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 exhibited dose-dependent PPARα transactivational activity, with EC50 values in a range of 0.9 − 16.0 μM. Compounds 1, 3, 8, and 9 also significantly upregulated PPARγ activity in a dose-dependent manner, with EC50 values of 10.5, 6.6, 15.7, and 1.6 μM, whereas compounds 1, 8, and 9 demonstrated transactivational PPARβ(δ) effects with EC50 values of 11.4, 10.3, and 1.5 μM, respectively. These results provide a scientific rationale for the use of the roots of S. flavescens and warrant further studies to develop new agents for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.