Coffee is a complex mixture of many bioactive compounds possessing anti-inflammatory properties. However, the mechanisms by which coffee exerts anti-inflammatory effects remains unclear and the active ingredients have not yet been identified. In this study, we found that coffee extract at more than 2.5%(v/v) significantly inhibited LPS-induced inflammatory responses in RAW264.7 cells and that anti-inflammatory activity of coffee required the roasting process. Interestingly, we identified pyrocatechol, a degradation product derived from chlorogenic acid during roasting, as the active ingredient exhibiting anti-inflammatory activity in coffee. HPLC analysis showed that 124 μM pyrocatechol was included in 100% (v/v) roasted coffee. A treatment with 5%(v/v) coffee extract and more than 2.5 μM pyrocatechol inhibited the LPS-induced activation of NF-κB and also significantly activated Nrf2, which acts as a negative regulator in LPS-induced inflammation. Furthermore, intake of 60% (v/v) coffee extract and 74.4 μM pyrocatechol, which is the concentration equal to contained in 60% (v/v) coffee, markedly inhibited the LPS-induced inflammatory responses in mice. Collectively, these results demonstrated that pyrocatechol, which was formed by the roasting of coffee green beans, is one of the ingredients contributing to the anti-inflammatory activity of coffee.
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