Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Botany and health: Very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects on human immune system

Date:
August 30, 2013
Source:
University of York
Summary:
Very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects when the plant natural products are tested for their impact on the human immune system. Plants are capable of making tens of thousands of different small molecules - an average leaf for example, produces around 20,000. Many of these are found in a typical diet and some are already known to have medicinal properties with effects on health, diseases and general well-being. Now plant biologists and immunologists have examined a very closely related family of these small molecules (flavonoids) to establish how tiny changes to their chemical structures affect their bio-activity.

Scientists at the University of York have discovered that very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects when the plant natural products are tested for their impact on the human immune system.

Plants are capable of making tens of thousands of different small molecules -- an average leaf for example, produces around 20,000. Many of these are found in a typical diet and some are already known to have medicinal properties with effects on health, diseases and general well-being.

Now plant biologists and immunologists at York have joined forces to examine a very closely related family of these small molecules (flavonoids) to establish how tiny changes to their chemical structures affect their bio-activity.

The research, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, has important implications for diet and in the development of new pharmaceuticals from plant natural products.

Researchers from the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) and the Centre for Immunology and Infection (CII) in the University's Department of Biology designed experiments to test the bioactivity of plant-derived flavonoids.

Professor Dianna Bowles, a plant biochemist and founding Director of CNAP, led the research with Professor Paul Kaye, the Director of CII, who developed the robust assay system involving human cells to assess the impacts of the different structures.

Professor Bowles, who referred to the research in a panel discussion on 'Nature's Marvellous Medicines' at the recent Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, said: "We were measuring how flavonoids affected the production of inflammatory mediators by cells stimulated by microbial products. We found that the way in which a flavonoid scaffold was decorated had massive effects on how the cells responded. If a methyl group was attached at one site, there would be no effect; methylate another site, and the cells would produce far greater amounts of these inflammatory mediators. Therefore, the site of attachment on the structural scaffold was all-important in determining the bioactivity of the small molecule.

"Plant products in our diet have immense molecular diversity and consequently also have a huge potential for affecting our health and well being. We are only at the beginning of discovering the multitude of their effects."

Professor Kaye added: "The research demonstrates the level of control that the shape of a molecule can have on its recognition by our immune system cells. This is really important since we can use information such as this to design new drugs for clinical use, as novel immunomodulators, for example."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E.-K. Lim, P. J. Mitchell, N. Brown, R. A. Drummond, G. D. Brown, P. M. Kaye, D. J. Bowles. Regiospecific Methylation of a Dietary Flavonoid Scaffold Selectively Enhances IL-1 Production following Toll-like Receptor 2 Stimulation in THP-1 Monocytes. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013; 288 (29): 21126 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113.453514

Cite This Page:

University of York. "Botany and health: Very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects on human immune system." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130830091800.htm>.
University of York. (2013, August 30). Botany and health: Very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects on human immune system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130830091800.htm
University of York. "Botany and health: Very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects on human immune system." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130830091800.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins