In vitro evaluation of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of sulphated metabolites of catechins

Susana González-Manzano, Montserrat Dueñas, Felipe Surco-Laos, María Hidalgo, Ana González-Paramas, Celestino Santos-Buelga, Sonia De Pascual-Teresa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Catechins are major polyphenols in many plant foods that have been related to health promotion. In the human organism, they are largely metabolised to different conjugated metabolites (i.e. glucuronide, sulphate and methylated derivatives), which are further found in plasma and would be thus able to reach the biological targets. Therefore, in vitro assays aiming to elucidate the biological effects of dietary catechins should also consider their metabolites and not only the original compounds. In this article, the in vitro antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of different catechin and epicatechin sulphates, one of the less studied catechin metabolites, have been evaluated. Since these compounds are not commercially available, they had to be first synthesised in the laboratory. The in vitro antioxidant activity was assessed using the ferric reducing power (FRAP) assay and two methods based on the ability to scavenge the ABTS ̇+ radical cation at different pH values. Sulphation of (epi)catechin lead to a decrease in the antioxidant activity that was greater when the sulphate moiety was located in the catechin B-ring than in A-ring. Despite this, all the studied (epi)catechin sulphates still behave as better antioxidants than a-tocopherol in the radical scavenging assays carried out at pH 7.4, suggesting that they might act as efficient antioxidants in physiological conditions. The anti-inflammatory potential was assessed by evaluating the ability of the compounds to reduce the concentration of nitric oxide (NO) secreted by macrophages (RAW 264.7) after activation with a bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In the range of studied concentrations (1-300 μM), all the (epi)catechin sulphates caused a dose-dependent inhibition in NO production that even slight was statistically significant in most cases in relation to controls (LPS-activated cells without catechins), whereas the parent catechins did not show any effect in NO production in our experimental conditions. None of the assayed compounds showed any cytotoxic effect in macrophages up to the highest concentration used (300 μM). The obtained results suggested possible antioxidant and immuno-modulatory roles of the sulphated metabolites of catechins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-264
Number of pages8
JournalCYTA - Journal of Food
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Catechin
  • Epicatechin
  • Flavonoids
  • NO
  • RAW 264.7
  • Sulphated metabolites


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