Catalogue number C108948
Chemical nameFormononetin
CAS Number485-72-3
Synonyms7-hydroxy-3-(4-methoxyphenyl)-1-benzopyran-4-one; Biochanin B; Formononetol; 7-Hydroxy-4’-methoxyisoflavone; 4’-O-methyldaidzein
Molecular WeightC16H12O4
Physical DescriptionNeedle cryst.
SolventChloroform, Dichloromethane,DMSO
StorageStored at 2-8°C, Protected from air and light, refrigerate or freeze

Formononetin increases soluble-AβPPα (sAβPPα) secretion and thus protects human-AβPP Swedish mutation cell (N2a-AβPP cell) from hypoxia-induced apoptosis. Using hypoxic N2a-AβPP cell as an in vitro model of AD-like pathology, we confirmed that regular treatment with formononetin could have neuroprotective effects, followed respectively by reduced caspase 3 activity and increased cell viability. Strikingly, our data revealed that the caspase 3-blocking effect of formononetin was largely mediated by stimulation of α-secretase cleavage of AβPP, and increasing the secretion of its soluble form, sAβPPα. Moreover, the protective effect of formononetin was totally inhibited by TAPI-2, an α-secretase complex inhibitor, suggesting the role of the sAβPPα pathway in the neuroprotective response to formononetin. We also found that the stimulative effect of formononetin on α-secretase activity was mainly conducted by upregulating ADAM10 expression at the transcriptional level. Altogether, our study provides novel insights into how formononetin mediates stimulation of the ADAM10-sAβPPα pathway and exerts a neuronal protective effect.

Formononetin significantly increased growth factors such as transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Formononetin also increased the expression of Egr-1 transcription factor by 3.2- and 10.5-fold, compared with recombinant VEGF125 in HUVECs. The formononetin-mediated 12%–43% increase induced endothelial cell proliferation and recovered the migration of wounded HUVECs. In an ex vivo angiogenesis assay, formononetin produced a larger capillary sprouting area than produced using recombinant VEGF125. Cell proliferation and migration of HUVECs were also greater in the presence of formonectin than VEGF125. Western blot analysis of scratch-wounded confluent HUVECs showed that formononetin induced the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and slightly inhibited the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). The formononetin-mediated sustained activation of Egr-1 was suppressed by the ERK inhibitor PD98059 and the p38 inhibitor SB203580. PD98059 inhibited the formononetin-induced endothelial proliferation and repair in scratch-wounded HUVECs, SB203580 increased the cell proliferation and wound healing. Formononetin accelerate wound closure rate as early as day 3 after surgery and consistently observed until day 10 after in wound animal model. These data suggest that formononetin promotes endothelial repair and wound healing in a process involving the over-expression of Egr-1 transcription factor through the regulation of the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK pathways.

Formononetin causes vasodilatation via two pathways: (1) endothelium-independent pathway, probably due to inhibition of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels and intracellular Ca2+ release; and (2) endothelium-dependent pathway by releasing NO. Both the pathways may contribute to its antihypertensive effect.

References1. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 1998, 8(18), 2569-2572.
2. Chemistry of Natural Compounds, 2007, 43(1), 5-9.
3. J Alzheimers Dis., 2012, 28(4), 795-808.
4. International Immunopharmacology, 2011, 11(1), 46-54.
5. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 2011, 32(08), 1009-1018.
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