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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Feb 22;431(4):698-705. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.01.056. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Quercetin negatively regulates TLR4 signaling induced by lipopolysaccharide through Tollip expression.

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Advanced Radiation Technology Institute, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Jeongeup 580-185, South Korea.


Polyphenolic compounds have been regarded as one of the most promising dietary agents for the prevention and treatment of inflammation-related chronic diseases; however, the anti-inflammatory activities of flavonoids, such as quercetin, are not completely characterized, and many features remain to be elucidated. In this study, we showed the molecular basis for the downregulation of TLR4 signal transduction by quercetin. Quercetin markedly elevated the expression of the Toll-interacting protein, a negative regulator of TLR signaling. Lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of cell surface molecules (CD80, CD86, and MHC class I/II) and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-12p70) were inhibited by quercetin, and this action was prevented by Toll-interacting protein silencing. In addition, quercetin-treated macrophages inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, such as extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, p38, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and the translocation of nuclear factor-κB and p65 through Toll-interacting protein. Treatment with quercetin resulted in a significant decrease in prostaglandin E2 and cyclooxygenase-2 levels as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase-mediated nitric oxide production induced by lipopolysaccharide. Taken together, these findings represent new insights into the understanding of negative regulatory mechanisms of the TLR4 signaling pathway and effective therapeutic intervention for the treatment of inflammatory disease.

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