Nat Prod Sci.  2020 Mar;26(1):1-9. 10.20307/nps.2020.26.1.1.

How Do Oroxylin A and Spinosin Exert Their Activities on Cognitive Function?

  • 1Department of Life and Nanopharmaceutical Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Oriental Pharmaceutical Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Medicinal Biotechnology, College of Health Sciences, Dong-A University, Busan 49315, Republic of Korea
  • 4Institute of Convergence Bio-Health, Dong-A University, Busan 49315, Republic of Korea


Flavonoids are mainly contained in the vegetables and medicinal herbs. Until now, over 5,000 kinds of flavonoid have been identified and their biological activities have been reported. Among them, we are interested in oroxylin A and spinosin because of their specific structures having bulky group at C-6 of ring A. Oroxylin A is contained in the Scutellaria baicalensis and exhibits cognitive enhancing activity as a GABAA receptor antagonist, which is different from those of mainly contained in the S. baicalenis, baicalein or wogonin. Spinosin is isolated from Zizyphus jujuba var. spinosa and mainly studied as a hypnotic or anxiolytic agent because of traditional knowledge about its original herb. As far as we know, the cognitive function of spinosin was first identified by our group. In this review, we discuss how such flavonoids exert their pharmacological activities associated with cognitive function based on the receptor binding study and behavioral studies. Traditional knowledge and reverse pharmacology may be addressed in the research field of phytochemical pharmacology and useful to unveil the secret of phytochemicals.


flavonoid; oroxylin A; spinosin; cognitive function; Gabaergic neurotransmitter system; serotonergic neurotransmitter system
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