Ankaflavin, a novel Nrf-2 activator for attenuating allergic airway inflammation

Wei Hsuan Hsu, Bao Hong Lee, Yu Chun Huang, Ya Wen Hsu, Tzu Ming Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The role of inflammation-induced oxidative stress in the pathogenesis and progression of chronic inflammatory airways diseases has received increasing attention in recent years. Nuclear factor-erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf-2) is the primary transcription factor that regulates the expression of antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes. In this study, yellow pigment ankaflavin (AK), derived from Monascus-fermented products, elevated nuclear Nrf-2 protein translocation in both the A549 lung cell line and the lungs of ovalbumin (OVA)-challenged mice. Furthermore, AK increased the mRNA expression of antioxidant enzymes regulated by Nrf-2, leading to a reduction in allergen-driven airway inflammation, mucus cell hyperplasia, and eosinophilia in OVA-challenged mice. Additionally, AK prevented T-cell infiltration and Th2 cytokines including interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13 generation in bronchial alveolar lavage fluid. The adhesion molecules ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and eotaxin were substantially reduced by AK treatment. Importantly, the inhibitory effect of AK on adhesion molecule production and immune cell infiltration was abolished by Nrf-2 small interfering RNA. This is the first study to illustrate that AK acts as a novel Nrf-2 activator for modulating the oxidative stress pathway to improve the lung injury and ameliorate the development of airway inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1651
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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