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The chemical structure of luteolin
Ball-and-stick model of Luteolin
IUPAC name
2-(3,4-Dihydroxyphenyl)- 5,7-dihydroxy-4-chromenone
Other names
491-70-3 YesY
ChemSpider 4444102 N
Jmol-3D images Image
PubChem 5280445
Molar mass 286.24 g·mol−1
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 N verify (what isYesY/N?)
Infobox references

Luteolin is a flavone, a type of flavonoid. Like all flavonoids, it has a yellow crystalline appearance.[1]

Natural occurrences[edit]

Luteolin can be found in Terminalia chebula. Terminalia chebula or Haritaki incidentally is a major constituent of several Ayurvedic medicines and has been in use for thousands of years. Luteolin is most often found in leaves, but it is also seen in rinds, barks, clover blossom, and ragweed pollen.[1] It has also been isolated from the aromatic flowering plant, Salvia tomentosa in mint family Lamiaceae.[2]

Dietary sources include celery, broccoli, green pepper, parsley, thyme, dandelion, perilla, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary, navel oranges, and oregano.[3][4] It can also be found in the seeds of the palm Aiphanes aculeata.[5]


Several studies have been carried out on the beneficial effects of Luteolin with positive results. Studies show that luteolin activates the dopamine transporter which is involved in regulating the amount of dopamine in the neuronal synapses.[6][7] This study is of interest because this suggests that Luteolin might be playing a role opposite to that of drugs like Cocaine and Methylphenidate that are considered to be deactivators of the dopamine transporter. In a wide ranging study on the effect of Luteolin consumption on epithelial ovarian cancer in 66,940 women, a significant 34% reduction in cancer incidence was observed. In another population- based health study of around 361 and 394 elder men and women, high dietary intake of Luteolin was found to reduce the incidence of acute heart attack. Luteolin, its glycosides and plants containing luteolin have been reported to exert anti-inflammatory effects in vitro and in vivo.[4]

Studies show that Luteolin inhibits the NF kB pathway in cells. The NFkB pathway is known to be continuously active in cancer cells. The authors of this study concluded that 'this work demonstrates that Luteolin is an anti- proliferative flavonoid which induces apoptosis in cancer cells expressing drug transporters, without affecting the functioning of drug transporters'. [8]

Adverse effects[edit]

Gastrointestinal adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and gastric hypersecretion, may occur, as shown in one animal study.[9] Luteolin has also been found to have adverse effects in laboratory studies with endometrial cancer cells by blocking endocrine effects of the hormone progesterone.[10]


These enzymes are part of luteolin metabolism:[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b Mann, John (1992). Secondary Metabolism (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 279–280. ISBN 0-19-855529-6. 
  2. ^ A. Ulubelen, M. Miski, P. Neuman, and T. J. Mabry (1979). "Flavonoids of Salvia tomentosa (Labiatae)". Journal of Natural Products 42 (4): 261–3. doi:10.1021/np50003a002. 
  3. ^ Kayoko Shimoi, Hisae Okada, Michiyo Furugori, Toshinao Goda, Sachiko Takase, Masayuki Suzuki, Yukihiko Hara, Hiroyo Yamamoto, Naohide Kinae (1998). "Intestinal absorption of luteolin and luteolin 7-O-[beta]-glucoside in rats and humans". FEBS Letters 438 (3): 220–4. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(98)01304-0. PMID 9827549. 
  4. ^ a b López-Lázaro M. (2009). "Distribution and biological activities of the flavonoid luteolin". Mini Rev Med Chem. 9 (1): 31–59. doi:10.2174/138955709787001712. PMID 19149659.  External link in |title= (help)
  5. ^ Lee, D; Cuendet, M; Vigo, JS; Graham, JG; Cabieses, F; Fong, HH; Pezzuto, JM; Kinghorn, AD (2001). "A novel cyclooxygenase-inhibitory stilbenolignan from the seeds of Aiphanes aculeata". Organic Letters 3 (14): 2169–71. doi:10.1021/ol015985j. PMID 11440571. 
  6. ^ Zhao G, Qin GW, Wang J, Chu WJ, Guo LH (2010). "Functional activation of monoamine transporters by luteolin and apigenin isolated from the fruit of Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt". Neurochem. Int. 56 (1): 168–76. doi:10.1016/j.neuint.2009.09.015. PMID 19815045. 
  7. ^ Zhang J, Liu X, Lei X, et al. (2010). "Discovery and synthesis of novel luteolin derivatives as DAT agonists". Bioorg. Med. Chem. 18 (22): 7842–8. doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.09.049. PMID 20971650. 
  8. ^ Rao, P.S (2012). "Luteolin induces apoptosis in multidrug resistant cancer cells without affecting the drug transporter function: involvement of cell line-specific apoptotic mechanisms". International Journal of Cancer 130 (11): 2703–14. doi:10.1002/ijc.26308. PMID 21792893. 
  9. ^ Yu, M. C.; Chen, J. H.; Lai, C. Y.; Han, C. Y.; Ko, W. C. (2010). "Luteolin, a non-selective competitive inhibitor of phosphodiesterases 1–5, displaced [3H]-rolipram from high-affinity rolipram binding sites and reversed xylazine/ketamine-induced anesthesia". European Journal of Pharmacology 627 (1–3): 269–75. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.10.031. PMID 19853596. 
  10. ^ "Common Autism Supplement Affects Endocrine System". Science Daily. July 15, 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Capanlar, S; Böke, N; Yaşa, I; Kirmizigül, S (2010). "A novel glycoside from Acanthus hirsutus (Acanthaceae)". Natural product communications 5 (4): 563–6. PMID 20433073.