In the present study the effect of quercetin and its major metabolites quercetin-3-glucuronide (Q3G) and isorhamnetin on inflammatory gene expression was determined in murine RAW264.7 macrophages stimulated with lipopolysaccharide. Quercetin and isorhamnetin but not Q3G significantly decreased mRNA and protein levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha. Furthermore a significant decrease in mRNA levels of interleukin 1β, interleukin 6, macrophage inflammatory protein 1α and inducible nitric oxide synthase was evident in response to the quercetin treatment. However Q3G did not affect inflammatory gene expression. Anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin and isorhamnetin were accompanied by an increase in heme oxygenase 1 protein levels, a downstream target of the transcription factor Nrf2, known to antagonize chronic inflammation. Furthermore, proinflammatory microRNA-155 was down-regulated by quercetin and isorhamnetin but not by Q3G. Finally, anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin were confirmed in vivo in mice fed quercetin-enriched diets (0.1 mg quercetin/g diet) over 6 weeks.
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