Quercetin regulates oxidized LDL induced inflammatory changes in human PBMCs by modulating the TLR-NF-κB signaling pathway

Immunobiology. 2011 Mar;216(3):367-73. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2010.07.011. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been shown to play a pivotal role in both innate and adaptive immune responses. TLR family is the essential recognition and signaling component of mammalian host defense. Both genetic and biochemical data support a common signaling pathway that finally leads to the activation of NF-κB and induction of the cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules required for the activation of the adaptive immune response. The present study was designed to examine the involvement of TLR2 and TLR4 in the oxidized LDL induced inflammation in human PBMCs and the effect of flavonoid quercetin on TLR-NF-κB signaling mechanism. LDL was isolated from human plasma and oxidation of LDL was done by incubating with 10 μM CuSO₄ overnight at 37°C. The isolated human PBMCs in culture were used as the model system. 50 μg/ml ox-LDL treatment significantly up regulated TLR2 and TLR4 expression in isol human PBMCs after 24 h of culture and this was down regulated by quercetin at 25 μM concentration. ox-LDL caused a significant activation of NF-κB as evidenced by the detection of enhanced p65 subunit in nuclear extracts. Supplementation of quercetin significantly modulates the NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation. The cytokine IL-6 production was significantly increased in ox-LDL treated group and was decreased by quercetin treatment. Quercetin mediated reduction of TLR2 and TLR4 expression and the inhibition of nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 in turn decreased the inflammatory enzymes like 5-LOX and COX and also decreased the mRNA expression of inducible enzymes like COX-2 and iNOS. Quercetin inhibited the ox-LDL induced TLR2 and TLR4 expression at mRNA level and modulated the TLR-NF-κB signaling pathway thereby inhibited the cytokine production and down regulated the activity of inflammatory enzymes thus have protective effect against the ox-LDL induced inflammation in PBMCs.

MeSH terms

  • Copper Sulfate
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / immunology*
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Quercetin
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Copper Sulfate