Quercetin's influence on exercise-induced changes in plasma cytokines and muscle and leukocyte cytokine mRNA

David C. Nieman, Dru A. Henson, J. Mark Davis, E. Angela Murphy, David P. Jenkins, Sarah J. Gross, Martin D. Carmichael, John C. Quindry, Charles L. Dumke, Alan C. Utter, Steven R. McAnulty, Lisa S. McAnulty, N. Travis Triplett, Eugene P. Mayer

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122 Scopus citations


Trained male cyclists (n = 40) ingested quercetin (Q; n = 20) (1,000 mg/day) or placebo (P; n = 20) supplements under randomized, double-blinded methods for 3 wk before and during a 3-day period in which subjects cycled for 3 h/day at ∼57% maximal work rate. Blood samples were collected before and after each exercise session and assayed for plasma IL-6, IL-10, IL-1ra, IL-8, TNF-α, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and leukocyte IL-10, IL-8, and IL-1ra mRNA. Muscle biopsies were obtained before and after the first and third exercise sessions and assayed for NF-κB and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β, and TNF-α mRNA. Postexercise increases in plasma cytokines did not differ between groups, but the pattern of change over the 3-day exercise period tended to be lower in Q vs. P for IL-8 and TNF-α (P = 0.094 for both). mRNA increased significantly postexercise for each cytokine measured in blood leukocyte and muscle samples. Leukocyte IL-8 and IL-10 mRNA were significantly reduced in Q vs. P (interaction effects, P = 0.019 and 0.012, respectively) with no other leukocyte or muscle mRNA group differences. Muscle NF-κB did not increase postexercise and did not differ between Q and P. Muscle COX-2 mRNA increased significantly postexercise but did not differ between Q and P. In summary, 1 g/day quercetin supplementation by trained cyclists over a 24-day period diminished postexercise expression of leukocyte IL-8 and IL-10 mRNA, indicating that elevated plasma quercetin levels exerted some effects within the blood compartment. Quercetin did not, however, influence any of the muscle measures, including NF-κB content, cytokine mRNA, or COX-2 mRNA expression across a 3-day intensified exercise period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1728-1735
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Cyclooxygenase-2
  • Flavonoids
  • Immune
  • Inflammation
  • Nuclear factor kappa B


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