[Frontiers in Bioscience S2, 318-331, January 1, 2010]

Natural polyphenols as anti-inflammatory agents

Rosaria Acquaviv1, Liliana Iauk2

1Department of Biochemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Catania, V.le Andrea Doria 6, Catania, Italy, 2Department of Microbiological and Ginecological Sciences, University of Catania, Via Androne 32, 95131, Catania, Italy


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
2.1. Types of Polyphenols
3. Biosynthesis, bioavailability and metabolism of polyphenols
3.1. Functions and chemistry of polyphenols3.2. Bioavailability and metabolism of polyphenols
4. Polyphenols and health
4.1. Antioxidant capacity of phenolic compounds
5. Inflammation and polyphenols
5.1. Inflammation pathways
5.2. Effects of polyphenols
6. Summary
7. Acknowledgements
8. References


Epidemiological studies have clearly shown that diets rich in plant foods protect human against degenerative diseases. Plant foods contain fiber, vitamins and polyphenols which can contribute to the health effects. Polyphenols, plant secondary metabolites, represents a wide variety of compounds, with different chemical structures and activities. These compounds possess several biological functions, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and anticancer activities, able to counteract endogenous and exogenous biological stimuli. Recently, there is also increasing evidence for many potential benefits through polyphenolic-mediated regulation of cellular processes such as inflammation. Polyphenols, in fact, may act as inflammation modulatory agents by various mechanism, including down-regulation of NFkB, release of inflammatory mediators, chromatin remodeling, or the various enzymes involved, by inhibition of the activity of those enzymes, or by increasing the cells ability to scavenge ROS. So the polyphenols may be perceived as future pharmacological agents and may be used as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory enforcements to combat oxidative challenges.However, future studies are required to understand the effect of polyphenols on the pathology of different inflammatory disease states.