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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 Nov;10(6):724-8.

Polyphenols and inflammation: basic interactions.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, University Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.



For more than 20 years polyphenols, food-derived bioactive compounds in fruits and vegetables, are claimed to help prevent cancer, degenerative diseases and chronic and acute inflammation. Modern methods in cell and molecular biology allow us to understand the interactions of different polyphenols with basic mechanisms of inflammatory response. This review summarizes recent papers dealing with the effect of polyphenols on modulators of the inflammatory cascade.


The majority of papers deal with the effects of different antioxidants on the redox sensitive transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB, inducible nitric oxide synthase expression and cyclooxygenase inhibition. Understanding the regulatory steps and the multiple potential actions of polyphenols within the inflammatory cascade may help to define special polyphenols to be used for prevention and intervention in clinical conditions of inflammation. The relation between formation of advanced glycation end products as a consequence of high glucose and the activation of defence mechanisms through polyphenols opens new fields in the prevention and treatment of oxidative stress and hyperglycemia.


Polyphenols are promising compounds that may help to control oxidative stress and consequently inflammatory response. To date, however, clinical studies are missing and should be carried out with specific polyphenols.

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