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Biochem Pharmacol. 1992 Mar 17;43(6):1167-79.

Effects of flavonoids on immune and inflammatory cell functions.

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Department of Medicine, State University of New York, Buffalo 14203.


No doubt can remain that the flavonoids have profound effects on the function of immune and inflammatory cells as determined by a large number and variety of in vitro and some in vivo observations. That these ubiquitous dietary chemicals may have significant in vivo effects on homeostasis within the immune system and on the behavior of secondary cell systems comprising the inflammatory response seems highly likely but more work is required to strengthen this hypothesis. Ample evidence indicates that selected flavonoids, depending on structure, can affect (usually inhibit) secretory processes, mitogenesis, and cell-cell interactions including possible effects on adhesion molecule expression and function. The possible action of flavonoids on the function of cytoskeletal elements is suggested by their effects on secretory processes. Moreover, evidence indicates that certain flavonoids may affect gene expression and the elaboration and effects of cytokines and cytokine receptors. How all of these effects are mediated is not yet clear but one important mechanism may be the capacity of flavonoids to stimulate or inhibit protein phosphorylation and thereby regulate cell function. Perhaps the counterbalancing effect of cellular protein tyrosine phosphatases will also be found to be affected by flavonoids. Some flavonoid effects can certainly be attributed to their recognized antioxidant and radical scavenging properties. A potential mechanism of action that requires scrutiny, particularly in relation to enzyme inhibition, is the redox activity of appropriately configured flavonoids. Finally, in a number of cell systems it seems that resting cells are not affected significantly by flavonoids but once a cell becomes activated by a physiological stimulus a flavonoid-sensitive substance is generated and interaction of flavonoids with that substance dramatically alters the outcome of the activation process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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