Bioavailability of flavonoids: A review of their membrane transport and the function of bilitranslocase in animal and plant organisms

Sabina Passamonti, Michela Terdoslavich, Raffaella Franca, Andreja Vanzo, Federica Tramer, Enrico Braidot, Elisa Petrussa, Angelo Vianello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fruits and vegetables are rich in flavonoids, and ample epidemiological data show that diets rich in fruits and vegetables confer protection against cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases, and cancer. However, flavonoid bioavailability is reportedly very low in mammals and the molecular mechanisms of their action are still poorly known. This review focuses on membrane transport of flavonoids, a critical determinant of their bioavailability. Cellular influx and efflux transporters are reviewed for their involvement in the absorption of flavonoids from the gastro-intestinal tract and their subsequent tissue distribution. A focus on the mammalian bilirubin transporter bilitranslocase (TCDB 2.A.65.1.1) provides further insight into flavonoid bioavailability and its relationship with plasma bilirubin (an endogenous antioxidant). The general function of bilitranslocase as a flavonoid membrane transporter is further demonstrated by the occurrence of a plant homologue in organs (petals, berries) where flavonoid biosynthesis is most active. Bilitranslocase appears associated with sub-cellular membrane compartments and operates as a flavonoid membrane transporter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-394
Number of pages26
JournalCurrent Drug Metabolism
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Bilitranslocase
  • Bioavailability
  • Flavonoids
  • Mammals
  • Membrane transporters
  • Plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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