Luteolin is a rare substrate of human catechol-O-methyltransferase favoring a para-methylation.

Research paper by Zhong-Jian ZJ Chen, Yan-Qing YQ Dai, Si-Si SS Kong, Fei-Feng FF Song, Li-Ping LP Li, Jian-Feng JF Ye, Ru-Wei RW Wang, Su S Zeng, Hui H Zhou, Hui-Di HD Jiang

Indexed on: 07 Feb '13Published on: 07 Feb '13Published in: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research


The study aimed to investigate the regioselectivity of methylation of luteolin (3',4',5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone) in human in vitro and in vivo.Recombinant human catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and human liver S9 were utilized to study the kinetics of meta (3')- and para (4')- methylation of luteolin, and urine samples from volunteers after giving a luteolin-containing formulation were collected to determine the ratio of para-/meta-production. The results showed luteolin favored a para-methylation, with a ratio of of para-/meta-production in CLint (1.43 in recombinant human COMT and 1.47 in human liver S9), which was contrary to the known substrates of COMT. However, the result of urine sample assay showed a preference of meta-methylation with a ratio of of para-/meta-production (0.460 ± 0.126). To elucidate the mechanism for different preference of methylation of luteolin in vitro and in vivo, metabolism stability of the meta- and para-methylated luteolin was evaluated in human liver microsomes and recombinant human CYP450s, which revealed that para-methylated luteolin was more easily demethylated by human CYP1A2 and CYP3A4/5 than meta-methylated luteolin.Luteolin was a rare substrate of human COMT favoring a para-methylation, but further demethylation by human CYP1A2 and CYP3A4/5 caused a preference of accumulation in meta-methylated luteolin in vivo.