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      Structure-Activity Association of Flavonoids in Lung Diseases


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          Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds classified into flavonols, flavones, flavanones, isoflavones, catechins, anthocyanidins, and chalcones according to their chemical structures. They are abundantly found in Nature and over 8,000 flavonoids have from different sources, mainly plant materials, have been described. Recently reports have shown the valuable effects of flavonoids as antiviral, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, antitumor, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory agents and interest in these compounds has been increasing since they can be helpful to human health. Several mechanisms of action are involved in the biological properties of flavonoids such as free radical scavenging, transition metal ion chelation, activation of survival genes and signaling pathways, regulation of mitochondrial function and modulation of inflammatory responses. The anti-inflammatory effects of flavonoids have been described in a number of studies in the literature, but not frequently associated to respiratory disease. Thus, this review aims to discuss the effects of different flavonoids in the control of lung inflammation in some disorders such as asthma, lung emphysema and acute respiratory distress syndrome and the possible mechanisms of action, as well as establish some structure-activity relationships between this biological potential and chemical profile of these compounds.

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          The effects of plant flavonoids on mammalian cells: implications for inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.

          Flavonoids are nearly ubiquitous in plants and are recognized as the pigments responsible for the colors of leaves, especially in autumn. They are rich in seeds, citrus fruits, olive oil, tea, and red wine. They are low molecular weight compounds composed of a three-ring structure with various substitutions. This basic structure is shared by tocopherols (vitamin E). Flavonoids can be subdivided according to the presence of an oxy group at position 4, a double bond between carbon atoms 2 and 3, or a hydroxyl group in position 3 of the C (middle) ring. These characteristics appear to also be required for best activity, especially antioxidant and antiproliferative, in the systems studied. The particular hydroxylation pattern of the B ring of the flavonoles increases their activities, especially in inhibition of mast cell secretion. Certain plants and spices containing flavonoids have been used for thousands of years in traditional Eastern medicine. In spite of the voluminous literature available, however, Western medicine has not yet used flavonoids therapeutically, even though their safety record is exceptional. Suggestions are made where such possibilities may be worth pursuing.
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            Polyphenols: chemistry, dietary sources, metabolism, and nutritional significance.

            Polyphenols constitute one of the most numerous and ubiquitous groups of plant metabolites and are an integral part of both human and animal diets. Ranging from simple phenolic molecules to highly polymerized compounds with molecular weights of greater than 30,000 Da, the occurrence of this complex group of substances in plant foods is extremely variable. Polyphenols traditionally have been considered antinutrients by animal nutritionists, because of the adverse effect of tannins, one type of polyphenol, on protein digestibility. However, recent interest in food phenolics has increased greatly, owing to their antioxidant capacity (free radical scavenging and metal chelating activities) and their possible beneficial implications in human health, such as in the treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other pathologies. Much of the literature refers to a single group of plant phenolics, the flavonoids. This review offers an overview of the nutritional effects of the main groups of polyphenolic compounds, including their metabolism, effects on nutrient bioavailability, and antioxidant activity, as well as a brief description of the chemistry of polyphenols and their occurrence in plant foods.
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              Phenolics as potential antioxidant therapeutic agents: mechanism and actions.

              Accumulating chemical, biochemical, clinical and epidemiological evidence supports the chemoprotective effects of phenolic antioxidants against oxidative stress-mediated disorders. The pharmacological actions of phenolic antioxidants stem mainly from their free radical scavenging and metal chelating properties as well as their effects on cell signaling pathways and on gene expression. The antioxidant capacities of phenolic compounds that are widely distributed in plant-based diets were assessed by the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), the ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), the hypochlorite scavenging capacity, the deoxyribose method and the copper-phenanthroline-dependent DNA oxidation assays. Based on the TEAC, FRAP and hypochlorite scavenging data, the observed activity order was: procyanidin dimer>flavanol>flavonol>hydroxycinnamic acids>simple phenolic acids. Among the flavonol aglycones, the antioxidant propensities decrease in the order quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol. Gallic acid and rosmarinic acid were the most potent antioxidants among the simple phenolic and hydroxycinnamic acids, respectively. Ferulic acid displayed the highest inhibitory activity against deoxyribose degradation but no structure-activity relationship could be established for the activities of the phenolic compounds in the deoxyribose assay. The efficacies of the phenolic compounds differ depending on the mechanism of antioxidant action in the respective assay used, with procyanidin dimers and flavan-3-ols showing very potent activities in most of the systems tested. Compared to the physiologically active (glutathione, alpha-tocopherol, ergothioneine) and synthetic (Trolox, BHA, BHT) antioxidants, these compounds exhibited much higher efficacy. Plant-derived phenolics represents good sources of natural antioxidants, however, further investigation on the molecular mechanism of action of these phytochemicals is crucial to the evaluation of their potential as prophylactic agents.

                Author and article information

                24 March 2014
                March 2014
                : 19
                : 3
                : 3570-3595
                [1 ]Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Diadema–SP 09972-270, Brazil
                [2 ]Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo–SP 01246903, Brazil
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: carla.prado@ 123456unifesp.br ; Tel.: +55-11-3319-3529; Fax: +55-11-3085-0992.
                © 2014 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                : 16 October 2013
                : 13 March 2014
                : 17 March 2014

                flavonoids,anti-inflammatory response,lung disease
                flavonoids, anti-inflammatory response, lung disease


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