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Quercetin exhibits adjuvant activity by enhancing Th2 immune response in ovalbumin immunized mice

Quercetin, one of the most abundant of plant flavonoids, has been studied with a great deal of attention over the last several decades mainly for its properties in inflammation and allergy. In this study, we are reporting for the first time the in vivo immunostimulatory activity of quercetin in ovalbumin immunized Balb/c mice. Administration of quercetin (50mg/kg body weight) along with ovalbumin antigen showed increased ovalbumin specific serum IgG antibody titres in comparison to the control group (p<0.05). Quercetin administration not only showed predominance of Th2 immune response by increasing the IgG1 antibody titres, but also increased the infiltration of CD11c(+) dendritic cells in the mouse peritoneum and also increased LPS activated IL-1β and nitric oxide (NO) production by peritoneal macrophages. Expression of Tbx21, GATA-3 and Oct-2 proteins also enhanced in splenocytes of quercetin administered mice. Quercetin also did not cause any hemolysis in human RBCs. Overall, our findings strongly demonstrate the novel in vivo immunostimulatory and adjuvant potentials of quercetin.