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Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Oxidation of quercetin by salivary components. Quercetin-dependent reduction of salivary nitrite under acidic conditions producing nitric oxide.


PMID 12105964

Abstract

Under acidic conditions, nitrite is protonated to nitrous acid (pK(a) = 3.2-3.4) that can be transformed into nitric oxide by self-decomposition and reduction. When sodium nitrite was mixed with quercetin at pH 1-2, quercetin was oxidized producing nitric oxide. In addition to quercetin, kaempferol and quercetin 4'-glucoside were also oxidized by nitrous acid, but oxidation of apigenin, luteolin, and rutin was slow compared to oxidation of the above flavonols. These results suggested that flavonols, which have a free hydroxyl group at carbon position 3, can readily reduce nitrous acid to nitric oxide. When the pH of saliva was decreased to 1-2, formation of nitric oxide was observed. The nitric oxide formation was enhanced by quercetin, and during this process quercetin was oxidized. These results indicate that there is a possibility of reactions between phenolics and nitrous acid derived from salivary nitrite in the stomach.

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