Formononetin, a phyto-oestrogen, and its metabolites up-regulate interleukin-4 production in activated T cells via increased AP-1 DNA binding activity

Jin Park, Seung H. Kim, Daeho Cho, Tae S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phyto-oestrogens are polyphenolic non-steroidal plant compounds with oestrogen-like biological activity. Phyto-oestrogens have many biological effects including oestrogen agonist/antagonist properties. However, the effect of phyto-oestrogens on allergic responses remains unclear. In this study we investigated whether formononetin, a phyto-oestrogen, and its metabolites, daidzein and equol, affect production of interleukin-4 (IL-4), a pro-inflammatory cytokine closely associated with allergic immune response, in primary CD4+ T cells and EL4 T lymphoma cells. Formononetin, daidzein and equol significantly enhanced IL-4 production from both CD4+ T cells and EL4 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Formononetin, daidzein and equol also enhanced IL-4 gene promoter activity in EL4 cells transiently transfected with IL-4 gene promoter constructs, but this effect was impaired in EL4 cells transfected with an IL-4 promoter construct deleted of P4 site carrying nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) binding sites. In addition, formononetin, daidzein and equol increased AP-1 DNA binding activities while did not affect NF-AT DNA binding activities. The enhancing effects on IL-4 production and AP-1 DNA binding activities were abrogated by specific inhibitors for phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase C (PKC) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), indicating that formononetin, daidzein and equol might enhance IL-4 production by increased activation of AP-1 through the PI3-K/PKC/p38 MAPK signalling pathway. These results suggest that phyto-oestrogens and some of their metabolites may increase allergic responses via the enhancement of IL-4 production in T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalImmunology
Volume116
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sep

Keywords

  • AP-1
  • Allergy
  • Interleukin-4
  • Phyto-oestrogen
  • T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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