A state-of-the-art overview of the effect of metabolic conjugation on the biological activity of flavonoids

K. Beekmann, L. Actis-Goretta, P.J. van Bladeren, F. Dionisi, F. Destaillats, I. Rietjens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Diets rich in flavonoids are associated with various positive health effects. Most in vitro research conducted to elucidate the modes of action of flavonoids uses flavonoid aglycones, but not their circulating conjugated metabolites. Conjugation alters the physico-chemical properties of flavonoids and it is widely assumed that this can affect their biological activity. This article gives a state-of-the-art overview of scientific literature reporting on the effect of metabolic conjugation on the biological activity of flavonoids. The biological activity of flavonoid aglycones is compared to that of their conjugates for a broad range of endpoints. Even though there is only limited literature available, it is shown that contrary to common belief, conjugation does not always decrease the biological activity of flavonoids. There are also endpoints which are unaffected by conjugation, and endpoints on which the conjugates have a higher or inverse activity when compared to the aglycone. The effects of conjugation can differ depending on the type and position of conjugation, the flavonoid concentration, the endpoint studied and the assay system used so that no general rules can be deducted. It is concluded that further studies on the effects of conjugation have to be done on a case-by-case basis, and characterization of the stability and metabolic fate of the flavonoids in the assay system under consideration is needed to avoid false positive or false negative outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1018
JournalFood & Function
Volume3
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • low-density-lipoprotein
  • in-vivo metabolites
  • tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate
  • organic anion transporters
  • induced cell-death
  • quercetin glucuronides
  • antioxidant properties
  • cardiovascular-disease
  • adhesion molecules
  • plasma metabolites

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