Author(s): Arora A, Byrem TM, Nair MG, Strasburg GM
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Abstract The polyphenolic structures of flavonoids and isoflavonoids confer them with the ability to scavenge free radicals and to chelate transition metals, a basis for their potent antioxidant abilities. Another possible contributory mechanism toward their antioxidant activities is their ability to stabilize membranes by decreasing membrane fluidity. In this study, the effects of representative flavonoids, isoflavonoids, and their metabolites on membrane fluidity and their preferential localization in the membrane were investigated using large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) as the membrane models. These results were compared with those of cholesterol and alpha-tocopherol. Changes in fluorescence anisotropy values for a series of n-(9-anthroyloxy) fatty acid probes (n = 6, 12, 16) upon addition of the test compounds were used to monitor alterations in membrane fluidity at graded depths in lipid bilayer. The results of the study suggest that the flavonoids and isoflavonoids, similar to cholesterol and alpha-tocopherol, partition into the hydrophobic core of the membrane and cause a dramatic decrease in lipid fluidity in this region of the membrane. Localization of flavonoids and isoflavonoids into the membrane interiors and their resulting restrictions on fluidity of membrane components could sterically hinder diffusion of free radicals and thereby decrease the kinetics of free radical reactions. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
This article was published in Arch Biochem Biophys
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense