The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 108, 109091, 2022
Chronic inflammation-associated diseases include, but is not limited to cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc. Cell heterogeneity is a prerequisite for understanding the physiological and pathological development of cell metabolism, and its response to external stimuli. Recently, dietary habits based on phytochemicals became increasingly recognized to play a pivotal role in chronic inflammation. Phytochemicals can relieve chronic inflammation by regulating inflammatory cell differentiation and immune cell response, but the influence of phytochemicals on cell heterogeneity from in vitro and ex vivo studies cannot simulate the complexity of cell differentiation in vivo due to the differences in cell lines and extracellular environment. Therefore, there is no consensus on the regulation mechanism of phytochemicals on chronic diseases based on cell heterogeneity. The purpose of this review is to summarize cell heterogeneity in common chronic inflammation-associated diseases and trace the effects of phytochemicals on cell differentiation in chronic diseases development. More importantly, by discussing the problems and challenges which hinder the study of cell heterogeneity in recent nutritional assessment experiments, we propose new prospects based on the drawbacks of existing research to optimize the research on the regulation mechanism of phytochemicals on chronic diseases. The need to explore precise measurements of cell heterogeneity is a key pillar in understanding the influence of phytochemicals on certain diseases. In the future, deeper understanding of cell-to-cell variation and the impact of food components and their metabolites on cell function by single-cell genomics and epigenomics with the focus on individual differences will open new avenues for the next generation of health care.