Uptake of quercetin and quercetin 3-glucoside from whole onion and apple peel extracts by Caco-2 cell monolayers.J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Nov 17; 52(23):7172-9.JA
Evidence suggests that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables may be responsible for this health benefit. However, there is limited knowledge on the bioavailability of specific phytochemicals from whole fruits and vegetables. This study used Caco-2 cells to examine uptake of quercetin aglycon and quercetin 3-glucoside as purified compounds and from whole onion and apple peel extracts. Pure quercetin aglycon was absorbed by the Caco-2 cells in higher concentrations than quercetin 3-glucoside (p < 0.05). Caco-2 cells treated with quercetin 3-glucoside accumulated both quercetin 3-glucoside and quercetin. Caco-2 cells absorbed more onion quercetin aglycon than onion quercetin 3-glucoside (p < 0.05), and the percentage of onion quercetin absorbed was greater than that of pure quercetin, most likely due to enzymatic hydrolysis of quercetin 3-glucoside and other quercetin glucosides found in the onion by the Caco-2 cells. Caco-2 cells absorbed low levels of quercetin 3-glucoside from apple peel extracts, but quercetin aglycon absorption was not detected. Caco-2 cell homogenates demonstrated both lactase and glucosidase activities when incubated with lactose and quercetin 3-glucoside, respectively. This use of the Caco2 cell model appears to be a simple and useful system for studying bioavailability of whole food phytochemicals and may be used to assess differences in bioavailability between foods.