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Flavonoids and Asthma
Department of Clinical Application of Biologics, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Department of Immunopathology, WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 April 2013; in revised form: 3 May 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 / Published: 10 June 2013
Abstract: Asthma is a chronic disease, characterized by airway inflammation, airflow limitation, hyper-reactivity and airway remodeling. It is believed that asthma is caused by the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. The prevalence of allergic diseases, including asthma, has increased worldwide during the past two decades. Although the precise reasons that have caused this increase remain unknown, dietary change is thought to be one of the environmental factors. Flavonoids, which are polyphenolic plant secondary metabolites ubiquitously present in vegetables, fruits and beverages, possess antioxidant and anti-allergic traits, as well as immune-modulating activities. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants and anti-allergic nutrients that inhibit the release of chemical mediators, synthesis of Th2 type cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, and CD40 ligand expression by high-affinity immunoglobulin E (IgE) receptor-expressing cells, such as mast cells and basophils. They also inhibit IL-4-induced signal transduction and affect the differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells into effector T-cells through their inhibitory effect on the activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Various studies of flavonoids in asthmatic animal models have demonstrated their beneficial effects. The results of several epidemiological studies suggest that an increase in flavonoid intake is beneficial for asthma. Moreover, clinical trials of flavonoids have shown their ameliorative effects on symptoms related to asthma. However, these human studies are currently limited; further validation is required to clarify whether an appropriate intake of flavonoids may constitute dietary treatment and for part of a preventive strategy for asthma.
Keywords: asthma; diet; flavonoids; prevention; treatment and management
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Tanaka, T.; Takahashi, R. Flavonoids and Asthma. Nutrients 2013, 5, 2128-2143.
Tanaka T, Takahashi R. Flavonoids and Asthma. Nutrients. 2013; 5(6):2128-2143.
Tanaka, Toshio; Takahashi, Ryo. 2013. "Flavonoids and Asthma." Nutrients 5, no. 6: 2128-2143.