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J Endotoxin Res. 2001;7(6):431-8.

The inhibitory action of quercetin on lipopolysaccharide-induced nitric oxide production in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Division of Bacterial Toxin, Research Center for Infectious Disease, Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, Nagakute, Aichi, Japan.


The effect of quercetin on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide (NO) production was studied. Quercetin pretreatment significantly inhibited NO production in an LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 murine macrophage cell line. Post-treatment with quercetin partially inhibited NO production. The inhibitory action of quercetin was due to neither the cytotoxic action nor altered LPS binding. The expression of inducible-type NO synthase (iNOS) was markedly down-regulated by quercetin. Quercetin suppressed the release of free nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB by preventing degradation of IkappaB-alpha and IkappaB-beta. Moreover, quercetin blocked the phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk 1/2), p38, and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase (JNK/SAPK) and, further, the activity of tyrosine kinases in LPS-stimulated RAW cells. Quercetin also inhibited interferon (IFN)-gamma-induced NO production. Taken together, these results indicate that the inhibitory action of quercetin on NO production in LPS- and/or IFN-gamma-stimulated macrophages might be due to abrogation of iNOS protein induction by impairment of a series of intracellular signal pathways.

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