Open Access

In vitro effects of prolonged exposure to quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate of the peripheral blood mononuclear cell membrane

  • Denisa Margina1,
  • Mihaela Ilie1Email author,
  • Gina Manda2,
  • Ionela Neagoe2,
  • Rucsandra Danciulescu-Miulescu3,
  • Carmen Nicoleta Purdel1 and
  • Daniela Gradinaru1
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201419:211

Received: 2 April 2014

Accepted: 2 October 2014

Published: 13 October 2014


The study aimed to assess biophysical changes that take place in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) membranes when exposed in vitro to 10 μM quercetin or epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) for 24 and 48 h. PBMCs isolated from hypercholesterolemia patients were compared to those from normocholesterolemia subjects. The membrane fluidity and transmembrane potential were evaluated and the results were correlated with biochemical parameters relevant to oxidative stress, assessed in the patients’ plasma. The baseline value of PBMC membrane anisotropy for the hypercholesterolemia patients was lower than that of the control group. These results correlated with the plasma levels of advanced glycation end products, which were significantly higher in the hypercholesterolemia group, and the total plasma antioxidant status, which was significantly higher in normocholesterolemia subjects. In the case of normocholesterolemia cells in vitro, polyphenols induced a decrease in membrane anisotropy (7.25–11.88% at 24 h, 1.82–2.26% at 48 h) and a hyperpolarizing effect (8.30–8.90% at 24 h and 4.58–13.00% at 48 h). The same effect was induced in hypercholesterolemia cells, but only after 48 h exposure to the polyphenols: the decrease in membrane anisotropy was 5.70% for quercetin and 2.33% for EGCG. After 48 h of in vitro incubation with the polyphenols, PBMCs isolated from hypercholesterolemia patients exhibited the effects that had been registered in cells from normocholesterolemia subjects after 24 h exposure. These results outlined the beneficial action of the studied polyphenols, quercetin and EGCG, as dietary supplements in normocholesterolemia and hypercholesterolemia patients.


Membrane fluidity Transmembrane potential Total antioxidant status Advanced glycation end products Hypercholesterolemia Quercetin Epigallocatechin gallate