Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of isoflavone metabolites

G. Rimbach, S. De Pascual-Teresa, B. A. Ewins, S. Matsugo, Y. Uchida, A-M. Minihane, R. Turner, K. Vafeiadou, P.D. Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


1. Soy isoflavones have been extensively studied because of their possible health-promoting effects. Genistein and daidzein, the major isoflavone aglycones, have received most attention; however, they undergo extensive metabolism in the gut and liver, which might affect their biological properties. 2. The antioxidant activity, free radical-scavenging properties and selected cellular effects of the isoflavone metabolites equol, 8-hydroxydaidzein, O-desmethylangiolensin, and 1,3,5 trihydroxybenzene were investigated in comparison with their parent aglycones, genistein and daidzein. 3. Electron spin resonance spectroscopy indicated that 8-hydroxydaidzein was the most potent scavenger of hydroxyl and superoxide anion radicals. Isoflavone metabolites also exhibited higher antioxidant activity than parent compounds in standard antioxidant (FRAP and TEAC) assays. However, for the suppression of nitric oxide production by activated macrophages, genistein showed the highest potency, followed by equol and daidzein. 4. The metabolism of isoflavones affects their free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties, and their cellular activity, but the effects are complex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-25
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • Isoflavones
  • Macrophages
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Oxidants
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Soybeans
  • Superoxides
  • Xanthine Oxidase


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