Comparative Analysis of Apigenin-3 Acetate versus Apigenin and Methyl-Prednisolone in Inhibiting Proliferation and Gene Expression of Th1 Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Science, Isfahan, Iran

2 Isfahan Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Objective: In spite of the advances in therapeutic modalities, morbidity, due to multiple sclerosis (MS), still remains high.
Therefore, a large body of research is endeavouring to discover or develop novel therapies with improved efficacy for
treating MS patients. In the present study, we examined the immunomodulatory effects of apigenin (Api) on peripheral
blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from MS patients. We also developed an acetylated form of Api (apigenin-
3-acetate) to improve In its blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability. Additionally, we compared its anti-inflammatory
properties to original Api and methyl-prednisolone-acetate (a standard therapy), as a potential option in treating MS
Materials and Methods: The current study was an experimental-interventional research. The half maximal inhibitory
concentration (IC50) values for apigenin-3-acetate, apigenin, and methyl-prednisolone-acetate were determined in
healthy volunteers’ PBMCs (n=3). Gene expressions of T-box transcription factor (TBX21 or T-bet) and IFN-γ, as well
as proliferation of T cells isolated from MS patients’ PBMCs (n=5), were examined in co-cultures of apigenin-3-acetate,
Api and methyl-prednisolone-acetate after 48 hours of treatment, using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase
chain reaction (qRT-PCR).
Results: Our findings showed that apigenin-3-acetate, apigenin, and methyl-prednisolone-acetate at concentrations of
80, 80, and 2.5 M could inhibit Th1 cell proliferation after 48 hours (P=0.001, P=0.036, and P=0.047, respectively); they
also inhibited T-bet (P=0.015, P=0.019, and P=0.022) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) gene expressions (P=0.0001).
Conclusion: Our findings suggested that Api may have anti-inflammatory properties, possibly by inhibiting proliferation
of IFN-producing Th1 cells. Moreover, comparative immunomodulatory effects were found for the acetylated version of
apigenin-3-acetate versus Api and methyl-prednisolone-acetate.


Main Subjects

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