Apigenin, a natural flavone, is emerging as a promising compound for the treatment of several diseases. One of the hallmarks of apigenin is the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), as judged by the oxidation of reduced dichlorofluorescein derivatives seen in many cell types. This study aimed to reveal some mechanisms by which apigenin can be oxidized and how apigenin-derived radicals affect the oxidation of 5-(and-6)-chloromethyl-2',7'-dichloroclihydrolluorescein (H2DCF), a probe usually employed to detect intracellular ROS. Apigenin induced a rapid oxidation of H2DCF in two different immortalized cell lines derived from rat and human hepatic stellate cells. However, apigenin did not generate ROS in these cells, as judged by dihydroethidium oxidation and extracellular hydrogen peroxide production. In cell -free experiments we found that oxidation of apigenin leads to the generation of a phenoxyl radical, which directly oxidizes H2DCF with catalytic amounts of hydrogen peroxide. The net balance of the reaction was the oxidation of the probe by molecular oxygen due to redox cycling of apigenin. This flavonoid was also able to deplete NADH and glutathione by a similar mechanism. InLeresLingly, H2DCF oxidation was significantly accelerated by apigenin in the presence of horseradish peroxidase and xarahine oxidase, but not with other enzymes showing peroxiclase-like activity, such as cylochrome c or calalase. We conclude that in cells treated with apigenin oxidation of reduced clichlorofluorescein derivatives does not measure intracellular ROS and that pro- and antioxidant effects of flavonoids deduced from these experiments are inconclusive and must be confirmed by other techniques.