(Anti)mutagenic and immunomodulatory properties of quercetin glycosides

J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Mar 30;96(5):1492-9. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7251. Epub 2015 May 29.


Background: Quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (isoquercitrin) and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (rutin) are common components of a normal human diet and are increasingly used in food supplements. Here their effect on mutagenesis and immunity is shown.

Results: The in vitro (anti)mutagenic potential was compared with that of quercetin using the Ames test in Salmonella typhimurium His(-) strains TA100, TA98 and TA102. Isoquercitrin only slightly increased the number of revertants, while rutin was totally non-mutagenic. On the other hand, all compounds displayed dose-dependent protective activity against H2O2 - and tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage to the TA102 strain and at 75 µmol L(-1) inhibited H2O2/Fe(2+)-induced formation of the open circular and linear forms of the DNA plasmid pBSIISK(-). In mice, none of the flavonols (0.86 µmol day(-1), 34 days) induced harmful effects. In immunized animals, all compounds enhanced ex vivo B cell proliferation; quercetin stimulated lymphocyte basal proliferation and increased the number of IgM-producing lymphocytes. Rutin promoted NK cytotoxic activity, supported T cells and enhanced gut epithelium renewal. No effect on IgG-forming cells was found.

Conclusion: Isoquercitrin displayed negligible and rutin no mutagenicity, but both showed significant antimutagenic and DNA-protective effects against oxidative damage. In vivo, they supported the readiness of the immune system for specific humoral immune response.

Keywords: (anti)mutagenicity; antibody formation; cytotoxic activity; lymphoid cell proliferation; mice; quercetin glycosides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimutagenic Agents*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Glycosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / drug effects
  • Immunologic Factors*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mutagenesis / drug effects
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Quercetin / analogs & derivatives
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Rutin / pharmacology
  • Salmonella typhimurium


  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Glycosides
  • Immunologic Factors
  • isoquercitrin
  • Rutin
  • Quercetin