Platelet-mediated metabolism of the common dietary flavonoid, quercetin.
To link to this item DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009673
BACKGROUND: Flavonoid metabolites remain in blood for periods of time potentially long enough to allow interactions with cellular components of this tissue. It is well-established that flavonoids are metabolised within the intestine and liver into methylated, sulphated and glucuronidated counterparts, which inhibit platelet function. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrate evidence suggesting platelets which contain metabolic enzymes, as an alternative location for flavonoid metabolism. Quercetin and a plasma metabolite of this compound, 4'-O-methyl quercetin (tamarixetin) were shown to gain access to the cytosolic compartment of platelets, using confocal microscopy. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS) showed that quercetin was transformed into a compound with a mass identical to tamarixetin, suggesting that the flavonoid was methylated by catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) within platelets. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Platelets potentially mediate a third phase of flavonoid metabolism, which may impact on the regulation of the function of these cells by metabolites of these dietary compounds.