Elderberry and Elderflower Extracts, Phenolic Compounds, and Metabolites and Their Effect on Complement, RAW 264.7 Macrophages and Dendritic Cells

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Mar 8;18(3):584. doi: 10.3390/ijms18030584.


Modulation of complement activity and inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) production by macrophages and dendritic cells may have therapeutic value in inflammatory diseases. Elderberry and elderflower extracts, constituents, and metabolites were investigated for their effects on the complement system, and on NO production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages and murine dendritic D2SC/I cells. The EtOH crude extracts from elderberry and elderflower and the isolated anthocyanins and procyanidins possessed strong complement fixating activity and strong inhibitory activity on NO production in RAW cells and dendritic cells. Phenolic compounds in the range of 0.1-100 µM showed a dose-dependent inhibition of NO production, with quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol as the most potent ones. Among the metabolites, caffeic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid showed the strongest inhibitory effects on NO production in both cell lines, without having cytotoxic effect. Only 4-methylcatechol was cytotoxic at the highest tested concentration (100 µM). Elderberry and elderflower constituents may possess inflammatory modulating activity, which increases their nutritional value.

Keywords: LPS; RAW 264.7 cells; Sambucus nigra; anti-inflammatory; complement system; dendritic D2SC/I cells; elderberry; elderflower; metabolites; nitric oxide; polyphenols.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chemical Fractionation
  • Complement Activation / drug effects*
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Flavonoids
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Sambucus / chemistry*


  • Flavonoids
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Phenols
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Nitric Oxide