Monascus secondary metabolites monascin and ankaflavin inhibit activation of RBL-2H3 Cells

Yu Ying Chang, Wei-Hsuan Hsu, Tzu Ming Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Monascus-fermented products have been used as dietary food and traditional medicine due to their beneficial effects on circulation and digestive systems in Asia for thousands of years. Besides, monascin and ankaflavin, secondary metabolites from Monascus-fermented products, have proven anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. In previous research, monascin and ankaflavin ameliorated ovalbumin-induced airway allergic reaction often used as a type I allergy asthma model. Additionally, mast cells play critical roles in type I allergy. Therefore, RBL-2H3 cells were used as the mast cell model to determine whether the improving effects on asthma of monascin and ankaflavin came from influencing mast cells. PMA and ionomycin are common activators of mast cells because they stimulate the main signaling molecules during mast cell activation. Forty micromolar monascin and ankaflavin inhibited PMA/ionomycin-induced mast cell degranulation and TNF-α secretion through suppressing the phosphorylation of PKC and MAPK family ERK, JNK, and p38. Consequently, monascin and ankaflavin affected the activation of mast cells and may have the potential to improve type I allergy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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