The Journal of Medical Investigation
Online ISSN : 1349-6867
Print ISSN : 1343-1420
ISSN-L : 1343-1420
Understanding metabolic conversions and molecular actions of flavonoids in vivo:toward new strategies for effective utilization of natural polyphenols in human health
Yoshichika Kawai
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2018 Volume 65 Issue 3.4 Pages 162-165


Many papers have suggested the health‐beneficial activity of natural dietary polyphenols to prevent chronic diseases and aging processes in humans. It is generally recognized that polyphenols are absorbed from the intestines and metabolized into the phase‐Ⅱ conjugates, i.e., the glucuronides and sulfates. For example, a major dietary flavonoid, quercetin, abundant in onion and buckwheat, is metabolized after oral intake into its conjugates, such as quercetin‐3‐O‐glucuronide and quercetin‐3'‐O‐sulfate, whereas no aglycone was found in the human plasma. Therefore, to understand the mechanisms of the biological activity of quercetin in vivo, we should focus on the molecular actions of these conjugates. In the last decade, we have demonstrated the unique actions of quercetin‐3‐O‐glucuronide at sites of inflammation, including specific accumulation in macrophages and the following deconjugation into active aglycone, catalyzed by the macrophage‐derived β‐glucuronidase. This review summarizes recent findings regarding the anti‐inflammatory mechanisms of quercetin conjugates in macrophages and propose a possible strategy for the effective utilization of natural polyphenols in our daily diet for prevention of age‐related chronic diseases. J. Med. Invest. 65:162‐165, August, 2018

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© 2018 by The University of Tokushima Faculty of Medicine
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