RATIONALE: Enhanced production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), capable of reducing endogenous defense levels and enhancing inflammation, is suggested to play a role in sarcoidosis. Antioxidant supplementation might offer protection against such ROS-mediated damage. A promising candidate for antioxidant supplementation is the flavonoid quercetin. AIM: To determine the antioxidant and inflammatory status in sarcoidosis. Furthermore, the potential of quercetin to mitigate the occurring inflammation will be assessed. METHODS: Non-smoking sarcoidosis patients and healthy controls matched for age, gender and dietary behavior were enrolled (NCT-00512967). Measurements included assessment of total plasma antioxidant capacity, vitamin C, uric acid, glutathione, basal and LPS-induced levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), interleukin (IL)-8 and -10 as well as the effect of quercetin on these levels. RESULTS: Compared to their controls, the sarcoidosis patients displayed significantly lower total plasma antioxidant capacity, decreased levels of vitamin C, uric acid and glutathione and increased levels of basal TNFalpha and IL-8. Quercetin significantly decreased ex vivo LPS-induced TNFalpha- and IL-8 production in a concentration-dependent manner in both groups. Interestingly, this quercetin effect was more pronounced in sarcoidosis patients. DISCUSSION: The endogenous antioxidant defense was significantly reduced in sarcoidosis, indicating that oxidative stress underlies the pathology of this disease. Furthermore, the inflammatory status was significantly enhanced in sarcoidosis. Finally, our results regarding the effect of quercetin on cytokine production imply that sarcoidosis patients might benefit from antioxidant supplementation not only by empowering the relatively low protection against ROS but also by reducing inflammation.