A systematic review on biological activities of prenylated flavonoids

Xi Chen, Emmanuel Mukwaya, Man Sau Wong, Yan Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Prenylated flavonoids are a unique class of naturally occurring flavonoids that exist especially for the plant's self-defensive strategy. This special class of flavonoids increases the bioactivities of their backbone flavonoids with non-prenylation; therefore, prenylated flavonoids have more potential to be developed and utilized. Objective: The number, position and type of the prenyl group on the flavonoids backbone structure may have close relationships with the bioactivities of flavonoids. Methods: PubMed and WEB OF KNOWLEDGE® were used to search articles published in English between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2012, which discuss the structure-activity relationship between prenylated flavonoids and their bioactivities. Results: It is proposed that the prenyl-moiety makes the backbone compound more lipophilic, which leads to its high affinity with cell membranes. The prenylation brings the flavonoids with enhancement of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cytotoxicity, larvicidal as well as estrogenic activities. However, it is reported that the prenyl-moiety decreases the bioavailability and plasma absorption of prenylated flavonoids. Conclusion: The prenyl group affects the bioactivities of flavonoids in certain ways, while the action mechanisms and the structure-activity relationship as well as more in vivo studies even clinical validation trials need to be further investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-660
Number of pages6
JournalPharmaceutical Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Bioactivity
  • Flavonoids
  • Herb
  • Prenyl group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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