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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 379538, 12 pages
Research Article

Apigenin Attenuates Atherogenesis through Inducing Macrophage Apoptosis via Inhibition of AKT Ser473 Phosphorylation and Downregulation of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-2

1Guangdong General Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou 510080, China
2Guangzhou Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510260, China
3The Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510515, China
4Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China
5Center for Cancer and Inflammation Research, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

Received 23 December 2014; Revised 24 March 2015; Accepted 24 March 2015

Academic Editor: Kota V. Ramana

Copyright © 2015 Ping Zeng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Macrophage survival is believed to be a contributing factor in the development of early atherosclerotic lesions. Dysregulated apoptosis of macrophages is involved in the inflammatory process of atherogenesis. Apigenin is a flavonoid that possesses various clinically relevant properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, and antitumor activities. Here we showed that apigenin attenuated atherogenesis in apo mice in an in vivo test. In vitro experiments suggested that apigenin induced apoptosis of oxidized low density lipoprotein- (OxLDL-) loaded murine peritoneal macrophages (MPMs). Proteomic analysis showed that apigenin reduced the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 (PAI-2). PAI-2 has antiapoptotic effects in OxLDL-loaded MPMs. Enhancing PAI-2 expression significantly reduced the proapoptosis effects of apigenin. Molecular docking assay with AutoDock software predicted that residue Ser473 of Akt1 is a potential binding site for apigenin. Lentiviral-mediated overexpression of Akt1 wild type weakened the proapoptosis effect of apigenin in OxLDL-loaded MPMs. Collectively, apigenin executes its anti-atherogenic effects through inducing OxLDL-loaded MPMs apoptosis. The proapoptotic effects of apigenin were at least partly attributed to downregulation of PAI-2 through suppressing phosphorylation of AKT at Ser473.