February 27, 2018
I may be able to reverse lead damage to the brain.
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Image of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone 3D Image of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone

7,8-Dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) is a naturally occurring flavonoid produced by several plants, including the weed Tridax procumbens (coalbuttons or tridax daisy) and the tree Godmania aesculifolia, which are found in the Western Hemisphere tropics, and trees in the widespread Primula genus. It has shown efficacy against several nervous-system diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s.

As research continues on 7,8-DHF as a treatment for these diseases, a recent discovery shows that it might be useful for combating another nervous-system scourge. Work by Tomás R Guilarte at Florida International University (Miami) and colleagues there and at New York Medical College (Valhalla) and Columbia University (New York City) shows that the compound may repair damage to the brain caused by lead poisoning.

Lead in the brain reduces the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the release of vesicles essential for nerve signaling. The investigators found that 7,8-DHF activated the BDNF receptor in the brains of rats exposed to lead. 7,8-DHF–treated rats regained the degree of vesicle release observed in rats not exposed to lead.

Some brain researchers believe that brain damage caused by lead is irreversible, but Guilarte hopes to prove them wrong by pursuing additional studies that may lead to clinical trials of 7,8-HDF. 


7,8-Dihydroxyflavone fast facts

CAS Reg. No.38183-03-8
Molar mass254.24 g/mol
Empirical formulaC15H10O4
AppearanceYellow powder 
Melting point250–252 ºC
Water solubility≈1g/L (est.)


7,8-Dihydroxyflavone hazard information

GHS classification*: acute toxicity, oral, category 4
H302—Harmful if swallowed Chemical Safety Warning

*Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Explanation of pictograms.

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