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Eur J Nutr. 2017 Jun;56(4):1609-1620. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1207-z. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Citrus peel polymethoxyflavones nobiletin and tangeretin suppress LPS- and IgE-mediated activation of human intestinal mast cells.

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Department of Nutritional Medicine, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstraße 12, 70593, Stuttgart, Germany.
Clinic for Visceral Surgery, Katharinenhospital, Kriegsbergstraße 60, 70174, Stuttgart, Germany.
Department of General, Visceral, and Thorax Surgery, Marienhospital, Böheimstraße 37, 70199, Stuttgart, Germany.
Department of Nutritional Medicine, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstraße 12, 70593, Stuttgart, Germany.



Allergic diseases with mast cells (MC) as main effector cells show an increased prevalence. MC also play an essential role in other inflammatory conditions. Therapeutical use of anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals directly targeting MC activation could be of interest for afflicted patients. Nobiletin and tangeretin are citrus peel polymethoxyflavones, a group of citrus flavonoids, possessing anticancer, antimetastatic, and anti-inflammatory activities. Here, we analyzed the effects of nobiletin/tangeretin on LPS- and IgE-mediated stimulation of human intestinal mast cells (hiMC).


MC isolated from human intestinal tissue were treated with different concentrations of nobiletin or tangeretin prior to stimulation via LPS/sCD14 or IgE-dependently. Degranulation, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 were examined.


Expression of CXCL8, CCL3, CCL4 and IL-1β in response to LPS-mediated stimulation was inhibited by nobiletin/tangeretin. hiMC activated IgE-dependently showed a reduced release of β-hexosaminidase and cysteinyl LTC4 in response to nobiletin, but not in response to tangeretin. Expression of CXCL8, CCL2, CCL3, CCL4 and TNF in IgE-dependently activated hiMC was decreased in a dose-dependent manner following treatment with nobiletin/tangeretin. IL-1β expression was only reduced by tangeretin. Compared to treatment with NF-κB inhibitor BMS345541 or MEK-inhibitor PD98059, nobiletin and tangeretin showed similar effects on mediator production. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 upon IgE-mediated antigen stimulation was significantly suppressed by nobiletin and tangeretin.


Nobiletin and, to a lesser extent, tangeretin could be considered as anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals by reducing release and production of proinflammatory mediators in MC.


Allergy; Citrus fruits; Flavonoids; Mast cells; Nutraceuticals

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