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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jun 28;54(13):4913-20.

The flavonol quercetin-3-glucoside inhibits cyanidin-3-glucoside absorption in vitro.

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Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Human Health, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


At present, little is known about the mechanisms responsible for intestinal absorption of anthocyanins (ACNs). For example, it has not yet been established if ACNs are absorbed through an active transport mechanism, such as the sodium-dependent glucose transporter (SGLT1), or by passive diffusion. Previously, we found that the absorption of ACNs differs between regions of the digestive tract and is maximal in the jejunum, suggesting that an active transport mechanism is involved. In the present study, we examined the effect of d-glucose (main substrate of SGLT1), phloridzin (inhibitor of SGLT1), and quercetin-3-glucose (Q3G, a flavonol) on the absorption of cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G; approximately 5 micromol/L) by mouse jejunum mounted in Ussing chambers. We found that the presence of either D-glucose (10, 20, and 40 mmol/L) or phloridzin (50, 100, and 200 micromol/L) resulted in a small but insignificant inhibition of C3G disappearance from the mucosal solution (decrease of disappearance with glucose, 33%; with phloridzin, 18%; NS). However, when the flavonol Q3G (50 micromol/L) was added to the mucosal solution together with the C3G, the disappearance of C3G was significantly decreased (74%; p < 0.001), and Q3G disappeared instead. In addition, we found phloretin and quercetin, the aglycones of phloridzin and Q3G, respectively, present in the mucosal solution and tissue extracts, indicating hydrolysis of these compounds by the enterocytes of the jejunum. In contrast, the aglycone cyanidin was not detected at all. Our results show that in the mouse small intestine, ACN absorption is not solely dependent on the activity of the SGLT1 transporter, as d-glucose and phloridzin had only a slight effect on uptake. Q3G, however, clearly inhibited C3G disappearance. These results suggest that there might be a competitive inhibition between C3G and Q3G absorption. It is possible that an absorption mechanism other than the SGLT1 is involved, which has a structural preference toward flavonols.

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