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Free Radic Res. 2002 Nov;36(11):1219-27.

Structure-antioxidant activity relationships of flavonoids: a re-examination.

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Departamento de Química e Bioquímica, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.


The antioxidant and prooxidant activities of flavonoids belonging to several classes were studied to establish their structure-activity relationships against different oxidants. Special attention was paid to the flavonoids quercetin (flavone), taxifolin (flavanone) and catechin (flavanol), which possess different basic structures but the same hydroxylation pattern (3,5,7,3'4'-OH). It was found that these three flavonoids exhibited comparable antioxidant activities against different oxidants leading to the conclusion that the presence of ortho-catechol group (3',4'-OH) in the B-ring is determinant for a high antioxidant capacity. The flavone kaempferol (3,5,7,4'-OH), however, in spite of bearing no catechol group, also presents a high antioxidant activity against some oxidants. This fact can be attributed to the presence of both 2,3-double bond and the 3-hydroxyl group, meaning that the basic structure of flavonoids becomes important when the antioxidant activity of B-ring is small.

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