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Br J Nutr. 2008 Nov;100(5):968-76. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508966083. Epub 2008 Apr 8.

A comparison of the effects of kaempferol and quercetin on cytokine-induced pro-inflammatory status of cultured human endothelial cells.

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Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD) and Institute of Biomedicine, University of León, León 24071, Spain.


We investigated the effects of the flavonols kaempferol and quercetin on the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), endothelial cell selectin (E-selectin), inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2), and on the activation of the signalling molecules NF-kappaB and activator protein-1 (AP-1), induced by a cytokine mixture in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Inhibition of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species generation did not differ among both flavonols at 1 micromol/l but was significantly stronger for kaempferol at 5-50 micromol/l. Supplementation with increasing concentrations of kaempferol substantially attenuated the increase induced by the cytokine mixture in VCAM-1 (10-50 micromol/l), ICAM-1 (50 micromol/l) and E-selectin (5-50 micromol/l) expression. A significantly inhibitory effect of quercetin on VCAM-1 (10-50 micromol/l), ICAM-1 (50 micromol/l) and E-selectin (50 micromol/l) expression was also observed. Expression of adhesion molecules was always more strongly inhibited in kaempferol-treated than in quercetin-treated cells. The inhibitory effect on iNOS and COX-2 protein level was stronger for quercetin at 5-50 micromol/l. The effect of kaempferol on NF-kappaB and AP-1 binding activity was weaker at high concentrations (50 micromol/l) as compared with quercetin. The present study indicates that differences exist in the modulation of pro-inflammatory genes and in the blockade of NF-kappaB and AP-1 by kaempferol and quercetin. The minor structural differences between both flavonols determine differences in their anti-inflammatory properties and in their efficiency in inhibiting signalling molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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