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Effects of Flavonoids and Its Derivatives on Immune Cell Responses

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 2 ]


Gricelis Martínez, Michael R. Mijares and Juan B. De Sanctis*   Pages 84 - 104 ( 21 )


Background: Various pieces of evidence have shown that people who consume foods rich in polyphenolic and flavonoids compounds have a lower incidence of inflammatory, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Objective: The study aimed to review the most potent compounds that affect the immune response and diseases associated with it.

Methods: Publications in PubMed and EmBase, from 1974-2018, and patents form Free patents online, Scifinder, Espacenet and Mendeley in which flavonoids, their semi-synthetic and synthetic derivatives are involved in immunosuppressive or immunostimulatory responses in vitro and in vivo.

Results: In vitro, flavonoids and their derivatives inhibit various transcriptional factors, which modulate differentiation, proliferation, activation of immune cells and enhance regulatory T cell generation. Some flavonoids exert anti-inflammatory effects through: Blockade of NF-κB, and NLRP3 inflammasome, inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokine production, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-17A, down regulation of chemokines, and reduction of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Nevertheless, several reports have shown that some flavonoids enhance immune response by enhancing: oxygen and nitrogen radicals, antibody production, cytotoxic activity against tumours by increasing activating receptors and down regulating inhibitory receptors. In consequence, flavonoids may be potentially useful for treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.

Conclusion: The most potent flavonoids in inflammation that modify immune responses are apigenin, quercetin and Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG) although, other compounds are still under study and cannot be excluded. The most relevant patents concerning the use of flavones and other polyphenols were revised. A promising future of these compounds in different therapies is discussed.


Anthoxyanidin, chalcones isoflavonoids, flavan-3 ols, flavanones, flavones, flavonols, flavanonol.


Unidad de Bioquimica, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47206, Los Chaguaramos, Caracas 1041-A, Unidad de Biotecnologia, Facultad de Farmacia, and Instituto de Inmunologia Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Instituto de Inmunologia, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas

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