Identification and Functional Evaluation of Polyphenols That Induce Regulatory T Cells

Tsukasa Fujiki, Ryosuke Shinozaki, Miyako Udono, Yoshinori Katakura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) and CD4+/CD25+ T cells play an important role in the suppression of excessive immune responses, homeostasis of immune function, and oral tolerance. In this study, we screened for food-derived polyphenols that induce Tregs in response to retinaldehyde dehydrogenase (RALDH2) activation using macrophage-like THP-1 cells. THP-1 cells were transfected with an EGFP reporter vector whose expression is regulated under the control of mouse Raldh2 promoter and named THP-1 (Raldh2p-EGFP) cells. The THP-1 (Raldh2p-EGFP) cells were treated with 33 polyphenols after inducing their differentiation into macrophage-like cells using phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. Of the 33 polyphenols, five (kaempferol, quercetin, morin, luteolin and fisetin) activated Raldh2 promoter activity, and both quercetin and luteolin activated the endogenous Raldh2 mRNA expression and enzymatic activity. Furthermore, these two polyphenols increased transforming growth factor beta 1 and forkhead box P3 mRNA expression, suggesting that they have Treg-inducing ability. Finally, we verified that these polyphenols could induce Tregs in vivo and consequently induce IgA production. Oral administration of quercetin and luteolin increased IgA production in feces of mice. Therefore, quercetin and luteolin can induce Tregs via RALDH2 activation and consequently increase IgA production, suggesting that they can enhance intestinal barrier function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2862
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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