Quercetin Abstracts 1


The dietary bioflavonoid, quercetin, selectively induces apoptosis of prostate cancer cells by down-regulating the expression of heat shock protein 90.
            (Aalinkeel et al., 2008) Download
BACKGROUND: Human and animal studies have suggested that diet-derived flavonoids, in particular quercetin may play a beneficial role by preventing or inhibiting oncogenesis, but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect(s) of quercetin on normal and malignant prostate cells and to identify the target(s) of quercetin's action. METHODOLOGY: We addressed this question using cells in culture and investigated whether quercetin affects key biological processes responsible for tumor cell properties such as cell proliferation and apoptosis and also studied the effect of quercetin on the proteome of prostate cancer cells using difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) to assess changes in the expression of relevant proteins. RESULTS: Our findings demonstrate that quercetin treatment of prostate cancer cells results in decreased cell proliferation and viability. Furthermore, we demonstrate that quercetin promotes cancer cell apoptosis by down-regulating the levels of heat shock protein (Hsp) 90. Depletion of Hsp90 by quercetin results in decreased cell viability, levels of surrogate markers of Hsp90 inhibition (intracellular and secreted), induced apoptosis and activation of caspases in cancer cells but not in normal prostate epithelial cells. Knockdown of Hsp90 by short interfering RNA also resulted in induction apoptosis similar to quercetin in cancer cells as indicated by annexin V staining. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that quercetin down-regulates the expression of Hsp90 which, in turn, induces inhibition of growth and cell death in prostate cancer cells while exerting no quantifiable effect on normal prostate epithelial cells.

The anti-obesity effect of quercetin is mediated by the AMPK and MAPK signaling pathways.
            (Ahn et al., 2008) Download
Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid and is assumed to have protective roles against the pathogenesis of multiple diseases associated with oxidative stress. In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which quercetin affects adipogenesis and apoptosis in 3T3-L1 cells. The exposure of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes to quercetin resulted in attenuated adipogenesis and decreased expression of adipogenesis-related factors and enzymes. Moreover, quercetin exposure up-regulated the levels of phosphorylated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its substrate, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). Treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with quercetin resulted in the induction of apoptosis and a concomitant decrease in ERK and JNK phosphorylation. Taken together, these data indicate that quercetin exerts anti-adipogenesis activity by activating the AMPK signal pathway in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, while the quercetin-induced apoptosis of mature adipocytes was mediated by modulation of the ERK and JNK pathways, which play pivotal roles during apoptosis.

Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin.
            (Chondrogianni et al., 2010) Download
Homeostasis is a key feature of the cellular lifespan. Its maintenance influences the rate of ageing and it is determined by several factors, including efficient proteolysis. The proteasome is the major cellular proteolytic machinery responsible for the degradation of both normal and damaged proteins. Alterations of proteasome function have been recorded in various biological phenomena including ageing and replicative senescence. Proteasome activities and function are decreased upon replicative senescence, whereas proteasome activation confers enhanced survival against oxidative stress, lifespan extension and maintenance of the young morphology longer in human primary fibroblasts. Several natural compounds possess anti-ageing/anti-oxidant properties. In this study, we have identified quercetin (QUER) and its derivative, namely quercetin caprylate (QU-CAP) as a proteasome activator with anti-oxidant properties that consequently influence cellular lifespan, survival and viability of HFL-1 primary human fibroblasts. Moreover, when these compounds are supplemented to already senescent fibroblasts, a rejuvenating effect is observed. Finally, we show that these compounds promote physiological alterations when applied to cells (i.e. whitening effect). In summary, these data demonstrate the existence of naturally occurring anti-ageing products that can be effectively used through topical application.

Quercetin increases brain and muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and exercise tolerance.
            (Davis et al., 2009) Download
Quercetin is one of a broad group of natural polyphenolic flavonoid substances that are being investigated for their widespread health benefits. These benefits have generally been ascribed to its combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, but recent in vitro evidence suggests that improved mitochondrial biogenesis could play an important role. In addition, the in vivo effects of quercetin on mitochondrial biogenesis exercise tolerance are unknown. We examined the effects of 7 days of quercetin feedings in mice on markers of mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle and brain, and on endurance exercise tolerance. Mice were randomly assigned to one of the following three treatment groups: placebo, 12.5 mg/kg quercetin, or 25 mg/kg quercetin. Following 7 days of treatment, mice were killed, and soleus muscle and brain were analyzed for mRNA expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC-1alpha) and sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and cytochrome c. Additional mice underwent a treadmill performance run to fatigue or were placed in voluntary activity wheel cages, and their voluntary activity (distance, time, and peak speed) was recorded. Quercetin increased mRNA expression of PGC-1alpha and SIRT1 (P < 0.05), mtDNA (P < 0.05) and cytochrome c concentration (P < 0.05). These changes in markers of mitochondrial biogenesis were associated with an increase in both maximal endurance capacity (P < 0.05) and voluntary wheel-running activity (P < 0.05). These benefits of querectin on fitness without exercise training may have important implications for enhancement of athletic and military performance and may also extend to prevention and/or treatment of chronic diseases.

The flavonoid quercetin regulates growth and gene expression in rat FRTL-5 thyroid cells.
            (Giuliani et al., 2008) Download
Quercetin is the most consumed flavonoid present in fruits and vegetables. There has been increased interest in the possible health benefits of quercetin and other flavonoids. Because it is reported that these compounds have some antithyroid properties, we were interested whether, and by what mechanism, quercetin might regulate thyroid cell growth and function. In this report we show that quercetin inhibits thyroid cell growth in association with inhibition of insulin-modulated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt kinase activity. Furthermore, quercetin decreases TSH-modulated RNA levels of the thyroid-restricted gene sodium/iodide symporter (NIS). We associated down-regulation of NIS RNA levels with inhibition of iodide uptake at comparable quercetin concentrations and could show that the inhibitory effect of quercetin on NIS RNA levels and iodide uptake is reproduced by inhibitors of the phospholipase-A(2)/lipoxygenase pathway. The specific inhibitor of protein kinase A, H89, only partially inhibited TSH-increased NIS expression and did not reproduce the quercetin effect. The quercetin studies thus reveal that the phospholipase-A(2)/lipoxygenase pathway appears to play an important role in TSH regulation of NIS gene expression, whereas quercetin inhibition of growth appears to involve an effect on insulin/IGF-I-Akt signaling. The data raise the possibility that quercetin may be a novel disruptor of thyroid function, which has potential effects on, or use in, the therapy of thyroid diseases.

The flavonoid quercetin inhibits thyroid-restricted genes expression and thyroid function.
            (Giuliani et al., 2014) Download
Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid present in a broad range of fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, quercetin is available as dietary supplements that are based on its antioxidant, antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. However, concerns have been raised about the potential toxic effects of excessive intake of quercetin, and several studies have demonstrated that flavonoids, included quercetin, can interfere with thyroid function. In a previous report, we showed that quercetin inhibits thyroid-cell growth and iodide uptake. The latter effect was associated with down-regulation of sodium/iodide symporter gene expression. In the present study, we have evaluated the effects of quercetin on the expression of other thyroid-restricted genes, and we show that quercetin decreases the expression of the thyrotropin receptor, thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin genes. We further investigated the inhibitory effects of quercetin on thyroid function in vivo through evaluation of radioiodine uptake in the Sprague-Dawley rat, which was significantly decreased after 14 days of quercetin treatment. These data confirm that quercetin can act as a thyroid disruptor, and they suggest that caution is needed in its supplemental and therapeutic use.

Inhibition of angiotesin-converting enzyme by quercetin alters the vascular response to brandykinin and angiotensin I.
            (Hackl et al., 2002) Download
Quercetin, one of the most widely distributed flavonoids in the plant kingdom, inhibits various enzymes. This study examined its inhibitory effect on the angiotensin-converting enzyme activity through the cardiovascular response to bradykinin and angiotensin I. Quercetin pre-treatment (88.7 micromol/kg p.o., 45 min; 14.7 micromol/kg i.v., 5 min) significantly potentiated the hypotensive effect of bradykinin (10 nmol/kg i.v.). This association was significantly attenuated by an antagonist of the B2 receptor. In addition, the hypertensive response to angiotensin I (0.1 nmol/kg i.v.) was significantly reduced by quercetin pretreatment using the same parameters as before. These results suggest an inhibitory effect of quercetin on the angiotensin-converting enzyme activity, similar to that of captopril. Quercetin was equally effective when given orally or intravenously.

Quercetin, flavonoids and the life-span of mice.
            (Jones and Hughes, 1982) Download
A dietary supplement of 0.1% quercetin significantly reduced the life span of mice. The effect was predominantly on the 'shorter living' males. A blackcurrant juice extract, containing a mixture of flavonoids in addition to quercetin, prolonged significantly the life span of the 'older dying' females. The significance of these results vis-a-vis aging mechanisms and the dietary intake of quercetin is discussed.

Increase of stress resistance and lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans by quercetin.
            (Kampkotter et al., 2008) Download
The health beneficial effects of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are, at least in part, attributed to polyphenols that are present in many herbal edibles. Although many in vitro studies revealed a striking variety of biochemical and pharmacological properties data about the beneficial effects of polyphenols in whole organisms, especially with respect to ageing, are quite limited. We used the well established model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to elucidate the protective effects of quercetin, the main representative of the flavonol class of polyphenols, in vivo. Quercetin is taken up by the worms, enhanced the resistance to oxidative stress and prolonged the mean lifespan of C. elegans by 15%. Quercetin was shown to be a strong radical scavenger possibly explaining the observed down-regulation of mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase by a reduced need for this antioxidant enzyme for maintenance of cellular redox homeostasis. Quercetin treatment also led to a translocation of the C. elegans FoxO transcription factor DAF-16 into the nucleus, a state often correlated with stress response and longevity. According to our results we suggest that the protective and life prolonging action of quercetin is not only due to its strong antioxidant capacity but may also be mediated by modulation of signalling pathways.

Dietary quercetin alleviates diabetic symptoms and reduces streptozotocin-induced disturbance of hepatic gene expression in mice.
            (Kobori et al., 2009) Download
Quercetin is a food component that may ameliorate the diabetic symptoms. We examined hepatic gene expression of BALB/c mice with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes to elucidate the mechanism of the protective effect of dietary quercetin on diabetes-associated liver injury. We fed normal and STZ-induced diabetic mice with diets containing quercetin for 2 wk and compared the patterns of hepatic gene expression in these groups of mice using a DNA microarray. Diets containing 0.1 or 0.5% quercetin lowered the STZ-induced increase in blood glucose levels and improved plasma insulin levels. A cluster analysis of the hepatic gene expressions showed that 0.5% quercetin diet suppressed STZ-induced alteration of gene expression. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the quercetin diets had greatest suppressive effect on the STZ-induced elevation of expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21(WAF1/Cip1) (Cdkn1a). Quercetin also suppressed STZ-induced expression of Cdkn1a in the pancreas. Dietary quercetin might improve liver and pancreas functions by enabling the recovery of cell proliferation through the inhibition of Cdkn1a expression. Unexpectedly, in healthy control mice the 0.5 and 1% quercetin diets reduced the expression of ubiquitin C (Ubc), which has heat-shock element (HSE) in the promoter region, in the liver.

Therapeutic potential of quercetin to decrease blood pressure: review of efficacy and mechanisms.
            (Larson et al., 2012) Download
Epidemiological studies beginning in the 1990s have reported that intake of quercetin, a polyphenolic flavonoid found in a wide variety of plant-based foods, such as apples, onions, berries, and red wine, is inversely related to cardiovascular disease. More recent work using hypertensive animals and humans (>140 mm Hg systolic and >90 mm Hg diastolic) indicates a decrease in blood pressure after quercetin supplementation. A number of proposed mechanisms may be responsible for the observed blood pressure decrease such as antioxidant effects, inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme activity, and improved endothelium-dependent and -independent function. The majority of these mechanisms have been identified using animal models treated with quercetin, and relatively few have been corroborated in human studies. The purpose of this review is to examine the evidence supporting the role of quercetin as a potential therapeutic agent and the mechanisms by which quercetin might exert its blood pressure-lowering effect.

Molecular and physiological actions of quercetin: need for clinical trials to assess its benefits in human disease.
            (Miles et al., 2014) Download
There is a growing realization that natural products such as phytochemicals can be used in diets or as supplements to prevent or treat human disease. The disciplines of epidemiology, pharmacognosy, and molecular biology have provided evidence that certain dietary constituents decrease blood pressure, influence immune and neuronal function, affect the incidence of cancer, and ameliorate the abnormal properties of cancer cells. Molecular studies have uncovered the interesting feature that most phytochemicals have multiple modes of action. This review focuses on the flavonoid phytochemical quercetin and describes the myriad of conditions in which quercetin affects a number of physiological processes. Despite the compelling information available, including a number of animal studies, translation of these findings into human clinical trials has been slow. The status of current clinical research on quercetin is summarized, and direction for further research is suggested.

The two phyto-oestrogens genistein and quercetin exert different effects on oestrogen receptor function.
            (Miodini et al., 1999) Download
We compared the oestrogenic and anti-oestrogenic properties of the two well-known phyto-oestrogens, genistein and quercetin, on the oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Genistein exerted a biphasic effect on growth of MCF-7 cells, stimulating at low and inhibiting at high concentrations, whereas quercetin was only growth inhibitory. At doses which did not inhibit cell growth, respectively 5 and 1 microM, genistein and quercetin counteracted oestrogen- and transforming growth factor-alpha-promoted cell growth stimulation. Furthermore, genistein promoted transcription of the oestrogen-regulated genes pS2 and cathepsin-D, whereas quercetin interfered with the oestrogen-induced expression of the proteins. In in vitro binding experiments, genistein competed with oestradiol for binding to the oestrogen receptor (ER), but quercetin did not. Quercetin and genistein down-regulated cytoplasmic ER levels and promoted a tighter nuclear association of the ER, but only genistein was able to up-regulate progesterone receptor protein levels. In gel mobility assays, ER preincubation with oestradiol or with the two phyto-oestrogens led to the appearance of the same retarded band, excluding differences between the various complexes in binding to the consensus sequence. The data allowed us to conclude that quercetin acts like a pure anti-oestrogen, whereas genistein displays mixed agonist/antagonist properties, and to formulate a hypothesis on the possible mechanism of action of such phyto-oestrogens.

Blocking telomerase by dietary polyphenols is a major mechanism for limiting the growth of human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
            (Naasani et al., 2003) Download
Animal and epidemiological studies reveal that consuming food and beverages rich in polyphenols (e.g., catechins, flavones, and antocyanines) is associated with a lower incidence of cancer, and several molecular mechanisms have been proposed for explaining this effect. However, because most of these mechanisms were observed only under specific and nonphysiological conditions, and in most cases, with practically irrelevant concentrations, there is still no clear-cut or universal explanation for the major events that underlie the anticancer effects of polyphenols. In this study we present clear in vitro and in vivo evidence that the inhibition of the cancer-associated enzyme telomerase is a key mechanism involved in cancer inhibition by epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major tea polyphenol. We demonstrate that EGCG and other selected polyphenols undergo structural rearrangements at physiologically permissible conditions that result in remarkably increased telomerase inhibition. In nude mice models bearing both telomerase-dependent and -independent xenograft tumors cloned from a single human cancer progeny, only the telomerase-dependent tumors responded to prolonged oral administration of EGCG. Thus, EGCG and likely other structurally related dietary polyphenols seem to act as prodrug-like molecules that, once ingested and distributed, undergo structural changes that favor potent activity against telomerase.

Possible mechanisms of action in quercetin reversal of morphine tolerance and dependence.
            (Naidu et al., 2003) Download
In an earlier study, we reported the ability of quercetin to reverse the development of morphine tolerance and dependence in mice. In the present study we have attempted to explore the possible involvement of nitric oxide (NO) system in quercetin reversal of morphine tolerance and dependence in mice. Co-administration of L-N(G)-nitro arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) or quercetin with morphine during the induction phase (days 1-9) delayed the development of tolerance to the antinociceptive action of morphine and also reversed naloxone precipitated withdrawal jumps. L-Arginine administration during the induction phase enhanced the development of tolerance to the antinociceptive effect of morphine but had no effect on the naloxone-precipitated withdrawal jumps. During the expression phase (day 10) acute administration of quercetin or L-NAME reversed, whereas L-arginine facilitated naloxone- precipitated withdrawal jumps in morphine-tolerant mice, but none of these drugs affected the nociceptive threshold in morphine-tolerant mice. Further, co-administration of quercetin or L-NAME with L-arginine during the induction phase antagonized the latter effects on the development of morphine tolerance. Also, prior administration of quercetin or L-NAME reversed the L-arginine potentiation of nalaxone-precipitated withdrawal jumps in morphine-tolerant mice. The results of the present study suggest that quercetin reversal of morphine tolerance and dependence may involve its ability to suppress nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity.

Endocrine disrupting activities of the flavonoid nutraceuticals luteolin and quercetin.
            (Nordeen et al., 2013) Download
Dietary plant flavonoids have been proposed to contribute to cancer prevention, neuroprotection, and cardiovascular health through their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic, and antiproliferative activities. As a consequence, flavonoid supplements are aggressively marketed by the nutraceutical industry for many purposes, including pediatric applications, despite inadequate understanding of their value and drawbacks. We show that two flavonoids, luteolin and quercetin, are promiscuous endocrine disruptors. These flavonoids display progesterone antagonist activity beneficial in a breast cancer model but deleterious in an endometrial cancer model. Concurrently, luteolin possesses potent estrogen agonist activity while quercetin is considerably less effective. These results highlight the promise and peril of flavonoid nutraceuticals and suggest caution in supplementation beyond levels attained in a healthy, plant-rich diet.

Quercetin ameliorates cardiovascular, hepatic, and metabolic changes in diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats.
            (Panchal et al., 2012) Download
Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We investigated the responses to the flavonol, quercetin, in male Wistar rats (8-9 wk old) divided into 4 groups. Two groups were given either a corn starch-rich (C) or high-carbohydrate, high-fat (H) diet for 16 wk; the remaining 2 groups were given either a C or H diet for 8 wk followed by supplementation with 0.8 g/kg quercetin in the food for the following 8 wk (CQ and HQ, respectively). The H diet contained ~68% carbohydrates, mainly as fructose and sucrose, and ~24% fat from beef tallow; the C diet contained ~68% carbohydrates as polysaccharides and ~0.7% fat. Compared with the C rats, the H rats had greater body weight and abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, higher systolic blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, cardiovascular remodeling, and NAFLD. The H rats had lower protein expressions of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-related factor-2 (Nrf2), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) with greater expression of NF-kappaB in both the heart and the liver and less expression of caspase-3 in the liver than in C rats. HQ rats had higher expression of Nrf2, HO-1, and CPT1 and lower expression of NF-kappaB than H rats in both the heart and the liver. HQ rats had less abdominal fat and lower systolic blood pressure along with attenuation of changes in structure and function of the heart and the liver compared with H rats, although body weight and dyslipidemia did not differ between the H and HQ rats. Thus, quercetin treatment attenuated most of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including abdominal obesity, cardiovascular remodeling, and NAFLD, with the most likely mechanisms being decreases in oxidative stress and inflammation.

Tamoxifen and quercetin interact with type II estrogen binding sites and inhibit the growth of human melanoma cells.
            (Piantelli et al., 1995) Download
The mechanism of the antiproliferative activity of tamoxifen on melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo is poorly understood, as it is not mediated by the antiestrogenic properties of tamoxifen. Using a whole-cell assay and nuclear and cytosolic radio-binding experiments with [3H]-estradiol as tracer, we found that MNT1, M10, and M14 melanoma cell lines as well as primary tumors expressed type II estrogen binding sites that bind tamoxifen and the flavonoid quercetin with similar affinity (KD 10-25 nM). Cell count and clonogenic assay showed both compounds to inhibit melanoma cell growth in a concentration-dependent manner in the range of concentrations between 1 nM and 1 microM. Neither the pure antiestrogen ICI-182780 nor the 3-rhamnosylglucoside of quercetin, rutin, bound to type II estrogen binding sites or inhibited cell growth. Our results suggesting that tamoxifen and quercetin can inhibit melanoma cell growth by interacting with type II estrogen binding sites help explain the reported effectiveness of tamoxifen, particularly in estrogen-receptor-negative tumors, and stress the potential role of quercetin in the treatment of melanoma.

Quercetin ameliorates metabolic syndrome and improves the inflammatory status in obese Zucker rats.
            (Rivera et al., 2008) Download
The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of chronic administration of high doses of quercetin on metabolic syndrome abnormalities, including obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance. For this purpose, obese Zucker rats and their lean littermates were used. The rats received a daily dose of quercetin (2 or 10 mg/kg of body weight) or vehicle for 10 weeks. Body weight and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were recorded weekly. At the end of the treatment, plasma concentrations of triglycerides, total cholesterol, free-fatty acids (FFAs), glucose, insulin, adiponectin, and nitrate plus nitrite (NOx) were determined. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein expression were analyzed in visceral adipose tissue (VAT). The raised SBP and high plasma concentrations of triglycerides, total cholesterol, FFA, and insulin found in obese Zucker rats were reduced in obese rats that received either of the doses of quercetin assayed. The higher dose also improved the inflammatory status peculiar to this model, as it increased the plasma concentration of adiponectin, reduced NOx levels in plasma, and lowered VAT TNF-alpha production in obese Zucker rats. Furthermore, chronic intake of the higher dose of quercetin enhanced VAT eNOS expression among obese Zucker rats, whereas it downregulated VAT iNOS expression. In conclusion, both doses of quercetin improved dyslipidemia, hypertension, and hyperinsulinemia in obese Zucker rats, but only the high dose produced antiinflammatory effects in VAT together with a reduction in body weight gain.

Reversal of aging and chronic ethanol-induced cognitive dysfunction by quercetin a bioflavonoid.
            (Singh et al., 2003) Download
Cognitive dysfunction, one of the most striking age-related impairments seen in human beings, has been correlated to the vulnerability of the brain to increased oxidative stress during aging process. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with strong antioxidant properties. Experiments were performed to study the possible effects of quercetin on cognitive performance of young, aged or ethanol-intoxicated mice (an animal model for cognition dysfunction) using one trail step down type of passive avoidance and elevated plus maze tasks, respectively. Aged or chronic ethanol-treated mice showed poor retention of memory in step-down passive avoidance and in elevated plus-maze task. Chronic administration of quercetin (10, 25 and 50 mg/kg) for 30 days or its co-administration with ethanol (15% w/v, 2g/kg per orally) for 24 days significantly reversed the age-related or chronic ethanol-induced retention deficits in both the test paradigms. However, in both memory paradigms chronic administration of quercetin failed to modulate the retention performance of young mice. Chronic quercetin administration for 30 days also reversed age associated increase in TBARS levels and decline in forebrain total glutathione (GSH), SOD and catalase levels. Chronic ethanol administration to young mice produced an increase in lipid peroxidation, and a decline in forebrain total glutathione (GSH), SOD and catalase levels, which was significantly reversed by the co-administration of quercetin (10, 25 and 50 mg/kg). The results of the present study showed that chronic quercetin treatment reverses cognitive deficits in aged and ethanol-intoxicated mice, which is associated with its antioxidant property.

Implications of aldose reductase in cataracts in human diabetes.
            (Varma et al., 1979) Download
Cataracts removed intracapsularly by cryoprobe technique from human diabetics were analyzed for sugars and polyols by gas liquid chromatography. The contents of sorbitol and fructose of lenses followed blood glucose levels at least up to 250 mg/dl. Studies indicate that human lens is capable of synthesizing substantial amounts of polyol pathway metabolites given exposure to high glucose levels such as are prevalent in diabetes. The synthesis of sorbitol was found to be susceptible to quercitrin, an inhibitor of aldose reductase. The implications of these findings in the formation of cataracts in diabetic individuals have been discussed.

Antidiabetic effects of quercetin in streptozocin-induced diabetic rats.
            (Vessal et al., 2003) Download
Effects of the intraperitoneal injection of quercetin in streptozocin-induced diabetic and normal rats were investigated and compared. Although quercetin had no effect on plasma glucose level of normal animals, it significantly and dose-dependently decreased the plasma glucose level of streptozocin-induced diabetic rats. Glucose tolerance tests of the diabetic animals approached those of normal rats, their plasma cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced significantly, while their hepatic glucokinase activity was significantly increased upon quercetin treatment. In normal rats, quercetin did not affect the glucose tolerance test, but resulted in an increase of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides and a decrease in hepatic glucokinase activity. No significant pathologic changes were noted in hepatocytes or kidney tubules and glomeruli, while the number of pancreatic islets significantly increased in both treated normal and diabetic groups. It is concluded that quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties brings about the regeneration of the pancreatic islets and probably increases insulin release in streptozocin-induced diabetic rats; thus exerting its beneficial antidiabetic effects. However, it may be of little value in normoglycemic animals.

Carbon dioxide is the major metabolite of quercetin in humans.
            (Walle et al., 2001) Download
A previous study in ileostomy patients indicated that dietary glucosides of the flavonoid quercetin are hydrolyzed efficiently in the intestinal lumen, followed by absorption of a large fraction of the quercetin aglycone. To determine the fate of quercetin, we administered 1.85 MBq (50 microCi) of (14)C-quercetin both orally (100 mg, 330 micromol) and intravenously (iv; 0.3 mg, 1 micromol) to healthy volunteers. Serial plasma samples, urines and stools were collected for 72 h. Total radioactivity was determined by liquid scintillation spectrometry directly in plasma and urine and after repeated methanol extraction of stool homogenate samples. The oral absorption, based on total radioactivity, was surprisingly high, ranging from 36.4 to 53.0%. The biological half-life was very long, ranging from 20 to 72 h. The urinary recovery of total radioactivity ranged from 18.4 to 26.8% after the iv dose and from 3.3 to 5.7% after the oral dose. The corresponding fecal recoveries were only 1.5-5.0% and 1.6-4.6%, respectively. Thus, the total recovery of the (14)C-quercetin doses, in particular after oral administration, was very low. In search for the unaccounted for fraction of the (14)C-quercetin dose, we performed (14)CO(2) recovery studies in three volunteers (3 iv and 3 oral doses). At timed intervals, (14)CO(2) in expired air was trapped in hyamine hydroxide/thymolphthalein and analyzed for radioactivity. As much as 23.0-81.1% of the quercetin dose was recovered as (14)CO(2) in the expired air from these volunteers, after both oral and iv doses. The disposition of quercetin in humans is thus highly complex, requiring further studies.

Quercetin potentiates insulin secretion and protects INS-1 pancreatic beta-cells against oxidative damage via the ERK1/2 pathway.
            (Youl et al., 2010) Download
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Quercetin lowers plasma glucose, normalizes glucose tolerance tests and preserves pancreatic beta-cell integrity in diabetic rats. However, its mechanism of action has never been explored in insulin-secreting beta-cells. Using the INS-1 beta-cell line, the effects of quercetin were determined on glucose- or glibenclamide-induced insulin secretion and on beta-cell dysfunctions induced by hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)). These effects were analysed along with the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 pathway. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and resveratrol, two antioxidants also known to exhibit some anti-diabetic properties, were used for comparison. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Insulin release was quantified by the homogeneous time resolved fluorescence method and ERK1/2 activation tested by Western blot experiments. Cell viability was estimated by the [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide] (MTT) colorimetric assay. KEY RESULTS Quercetin (20 micromol.L(-1)) potentiated both glucose (8.3 mmol.L(-1))- and glibenclamide (0.01 micromol.L(-1))-induced insulin secretion and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. The ERK1/2 (but not the protein kinase A) signalling pathway played a crucial role in the potentiation of glucose-induced insulin secretion by quercetin. In addition, quercetin (20 micromol.L(-1)), protected beta-cell function and viability against oxidative damage induced by 50 micromol.L(-1) H(2)O(2) and induced a major phosphorylation of ERK1/2. In the same conditions, resveratrol or NAC were ineffective. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Quercetin potentiated glucose and glibenclamide-induced insulin secretion and protected beta-cells against oxidative damage. Our study suggested that ERK1/2 played a major role in those effects. The potential of quercetin in preventing beta-cell dysfunction associated with diabetes deserves further investigation.

Quercetin induces HepG2 cell apoptosis by inhibiting fatty acid biosynthesis.
            (Zhao et al., 2014) Download
Quercetin can inhibit the growth of cancer cells with the ability to act as a 'chemopreventer'. Its cancer-preventive effect has been attributed to various mechanisms, including the induction of cell-cycle arrest and/or apoptosis, as well as its antioxidant functions. Quercetin can also reduce adipogenesis. Previous studies have shown that quercetin has potent inhibitory effects on animal fatty acid synthase (FASN). In the present study, activity of quercetin was evaluated in human liver cancer HepG2 cells. Intracellular FASN activity was calculated by measuring the absorption of NADPH via a spectrophotometer. MTT assay was used to test the cell viability, immunoblot analysis was performed to detect FASN expression levels and the apoptotic effect was detected by Hoechst 33258 staining. In the present study, it was found that quercetin could induce apoptosis in human liver cancer HepG2 cells with overexpression of FASN. This apoptosis was accompanied by the reduction of intracellular FASN activity and could be rescued by 25 or 50 muM exogenous palmitic acids, the final product of FASN-catalyzed synthesis. These results suggested that the apoptosis induced by quercetin was via the inhibition of FASN. These findings suggested that quercetin may be useful for preventing human liver cancer.




Aalinkeel, R, et al. (2008), ‘The dietary bioflavonoid, quercetin, selectively induces apoptosis of prostate cancer cells by down-regulating the expression of heat shock protein 90.’, Prostate, 68 (16), 1773-89. PubMedID: 18726985
Ahn, J, et al. (2008), ‘The anti-obesity effect of quercetin is mediated by the AMPK and MAPK signaling pathways.’, Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 373 (4), 545-49. PubMedID: 18586010
Chondrogianni, N, et al. (2010), ‘Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin.’, Exp Gerontol, 45 (10), 763-71. PubMedID: 20619334
Davis, JM, et al. (2009), ‘Quercetin increases brain and muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and exercise tolerance.’, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 296 (4), R1071-77. PubMedID: 19211721
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