Luteolin Flavonoid for Glaucoma

Luteolin turns on Genes that May Prevent Glaucomatous Damage

What is Luteolin?

Luteolin (3’,4’,5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid that is naturally found in broccoli, cabbages, carrots, celery, green pepper, parsley, perilla, and chamomile tea.[1] Flavonoids act as natural anti-oxidants which scavenge free-radicals.[2]

Evidence that Luteolin can be effective in the treatment of Glaucoma

No human studies have been published evaluating Luteolin’s possible glaucoma treatment benefits. Nonetheless, Luteolin has a number of properties that make it a promising potential treatment of glaucoma. For one, it passes through the blood-brain barrier which would give it direct access to the retinal tissue damaged by glaucoma.[3]

Luteolin has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and neuroprotective characteristics.[4] Specifically, it has been shown to inhibit the pro-inflammatory gene expression in microglia[5]. Microglia are cells found in the retina and central nervous system that perform immune surveillance.[6] Depending upon the chemical signals they receive, microglia will act to either protect[7] or destroy nerve cells.[8] Microglia appear to be involved in a number of neurodegenerative diseases.[9] In particular they seem to play a role in retinal degeneration.[10] By nudging microglia away from “destroy” mode and into “protect” mode Luteolin acts as a neuroprotectant.

Potential Side Effects and Risks:

Luteolin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. However, gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and vomiting may be encountered.[11]

Recommended Dosage

No human glaucoma studies have been done looking at the role of Luteolin in the treatment of glaucoma. Therefore, it is not known what dose, if any, would provide a benefit to those with glaucoma.


[1] Miean KH, Mohamed S. Flavonoid (myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, luteolin, and apigenin) content of edible tropical plants. J. Agric. Food Chem 49:3106–3112.

[2] Rice-Evans CA, Miller NJ, Paganga G: Structure-antioxidant activity relationships of flavonoids and phenolic acids. Free Radic Biol Med 1996,20:933-956.

[3] Wruck CJ, Claussen M, Fuhrmann G, et al. Luteolin protects rat PC12 and C6 cells against MPP+ induced toxicity via an ERK dependent Keap1-Nrf2-ARE pathway. J. Neural Transm. Suppl 2007;72:57–67.

[4] Lien EJ, Ren S, Bui HH, Wang R. Quantitative structure-activity relationship analysis of phenolic antioxidants. Free Radic. Biol. Med 1999;26:285–294.

Lopez-Lazaro M: Distribution and biological activities of the flavonoid luteolin. Mini Rev Med Chem 2009, 9:31-59.

Chen HQ, Jin ZY, Wang XJ, Xu XM, Deng L, Zhao JW: Luteolin protects dopaminergic neurons from inflammation-induced injury through inhibition of microglial activation. Neurosci Lett 2008,448:175-179.

Rezai-Zadeh K, Ehrhart J, Bai Y, Sanberg PR, Bickford P, Tan J, Shytle RD: Apigenin and luteolin modulate microglial activation via inhibition of STAT1-induced CD40 expression. J Neuroinflammation 2008, 5:41.

Jang S, Kelley KW, Johnson RW: Luteolin reduces IL-6 production in microglia by inhibiting JNK phosphorylation and activation of AP-1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2008, 105:7534-7539.

[5] Dirscherl et al.: Luteolin triggers global changes in the microglial transcriptome leading to a unique anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective phenotype. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2010 7:3.

[6] Streit WJ: Microglia as neuroprotective, immunocompetent cells of the CNS. Glia 2002, 40:133-139.

Nimmerjahn A, Kirchhoff F, Helmchen F: Resting microglial cells are highly dynamic surveillants of brain parenchyma in vivo. Science 2005, 308:1314-1318.

[7] Streit WJ: Microglia and neuroprotection: implications for Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Res Brain Res Rev 2005, 48:234-239.

[8] Ransohoff RM, Perry VH: Microglial physiology: unique stimuli, specialized responses. Annu Rev Immunol 2009, 27:119-145.

[9] Orr CF, Rowe DB, Halliday GM: An inflammatory review of Parkinson’s disease. Prog Neurobiol 2002, 68:325-340.

Sargsyan SA, Monk PN, Shaw PJ: Microglia as potential contributors to motor neuron injury in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Glia 2005, 51:241-253.

El Khoury J, Luster AD: Mechanisms of microglia accumulation in Alzheimer’s disease: therapeutic implications. Trends Pharmacol Sci 2008,29:626-632.

[10] Langmann T: Microglia activation in retinal degeneration. J Leukoc Biol 2007, 81:1345-1351.

[11] Yu MC, Chen JH, Lai CY, et al. 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 2010;627 (1–3): 269-75.

Don’t delay getting checked for glaucoma.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor in your area now.  If you live in the greater Los Angeles area and would like Dr. Richardson to evaluate your eyes for glaucoma call 626-289-7856 now. No referral required. Appointments are available, Tuesday through Saturday.

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