N-Nitrosation of a model aromatic amine (2,3-diamino-naphthalene) by the N-nitrosating agent produced by nitrite in acidic solution was inhibited by a polyphenol, chlorogenic acid, which is an ester of caffeic acid quinic acid. Caffeic acid also inhibited the N-nitrosation, but quinic acid did not. 1,2-Benzenediols and 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid had inhibitory activities. Chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, 1,2-benzenediols and 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid were able to scavenge the stable free radical, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl. Chlorogenic acid was found to be nitrated by acidic nitrite. The kinetic studies and the nitration observed only by bubbling of nitric oxide plus nitrogen dioxide gases indicated that the nitrating agent was nitrogen sesquioxide. The observations showed that the mechanism by which chlorogenic acid inhibited N-nitrosation of 2,3-diamino-naphthalene is due to its ability to scavenge the nitrosating agent, nitrogen sesquioxide. Chlorogenic acid may be effective not only in protecting against oxidative damage but also in inhibiting potentially mutagenic and carcinogenic reactions in vivo.

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