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Life Extension Magazine

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September 2014

By Life Extension

Quercetin alleviates hypercholesterolemic diet induced inflammation during progression and regression of atherosclerosis in rabbits.

OBJECTIVE: Recent advances have established a fundamental role for inflammation in mediating all stages of atherosclerosis, from initiation through progression. Quercetin may be a powerful bioactive constituent of the human diet, as a free radical scavenging agent and through interactions with various endogenous proteins. The present study focused on the effect of quercetin on inflammation induced by a hypercholesterolemic diet (HCD) in rabbits. METHODS: The animals were subjected to two different experiments, atherosclerotic progression and regression. In the atherosclerotic progression study, quercetin (25 mg/kg of body weight) was administered with the HCD for 90 d. In the atherosclerotic regression study, the animals were fed with the HCD for 90 d and then supplemented with quercetin (25 mg/kg of body weight) for another 90 d. The inflammatory enzyme activities were examined and a histopathologic examination of the aorta was performed. RESULTS: In the atherosclerotic progression study, quercetin co-administered with the HCD significantly decreased the activities of inflammatory enzymes such as cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenases (LOX) such as 5-LOX and 12-LOX in monocytes, nitric oxide synthase activity in the plasma, myeloperoxidase activity in the aorta, and the level of C-reactive protein in serum. In the regression study, quercetin administration significantly decreased the increased activities of inflammatory mediators such as cyclooxygenase, 5-LOX, 12-LOX, myeloperoxidase, and nitric oxide synthase and the serum level of C-reactive protein in HCD-fed rabbits compared with regression control rabbits. This effect was confirmed by histopathologic examination of the aorta.CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that quercetin modulates the deleterious inflammatory effects induced by an HCD in vivo in rabbits, suggesting its beneficial effect in decreasing inflammation in atherosclerotic progression and regression.

Nutrition . 2013 Jan;29(1):219-29

Chronic intake of onion extract containing quercetin improved postprandial endothelial dysfunction in healthy men.

BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies have shown that dietary flavonoids reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Onion is rich in quercetin, a strong antioxidant flavonoid. In some in vitro studies, quercetin improved endothelial function associated with atherosclerosis, a leading cause of cardiovascular events. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine whether chronic onion extract intake would improve postprandial endothelial dysfunction induced by an oral maltose load in healthy men. METHODS: Healthy men (44±10 years, n=23) received 4.3 g of onion extract (containing 51 mg of quercetin) once a day for 30 days. Before and after the chronic onion extract intake, fasting and postprandial flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) responses were measured. RESULTS: Maltose loading significantly decreased FMD both before and after chronic onion extract intake (p=0.000037 and p=0.0035, respectively). The chronic onion extract intake did not significantly affect fasting FMD (p=0.069) but improved the postprandial FMD significantly from 5.1%±2.2% to 6.7%±2.6% (p=0.00015). The chronic onion extract intake did not alter systemic and forearm hemodynamics. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that chronic onion extract intake ameliorates postprandial endothelial dysfunction in healthy men and may be beneficial for improving cardiovascular health.

J Am Coll Nutr . 2013;32(3):160-4

Quercetin mitochondriotropic derivatives antagonize nitrate tolerance and endothelial dysfunction of isolated rat aorta rings.

Chronic use of glyceryl trinitrate is limited by serious side effects, inter alia tolerance and endothelial dysfunction of coronary and resistance arteries. The natural flavonoid quercetin has been shown to counteract the development of glyceryl trinitrate tolerance in vitro. Two mitochondriotropic, 4-O-triphenylphosphoniumbutyl derivatives of quercetin (QTA-3BTPI and Q-3BTPI) were compared to quercetin for protection against glyceryl trinitrate-induced tolerance and endothelial dysfunction of isolated rat aorta rings. Both QTA-3BTPI and Q-3BTPI significantly counteracted the reduced vascular responsiveness to both glyceryl trinitrate and acetylcholine caused by prolonged exposure of the vessel to glyceryl trinitrate itself, their potency being much greater than that of quercetin. QTA-3BTPI, however, turned out to cause endothelial dysfunction per se. Since Q-3BTPI antagonizedin vitro nitrate tolerance and endothelial dysfunction of vessels, this encourages assessing whether this effect is displayed also in vivo during long-term glyceryl trinitrate treatment.

Planta Med . 2013 Apr;79(6):465-7

Quercetin reduces oxidative stress and inhibits activation of cJun N-terminal kinase/activator protein1 signaling in an experimental mouse model of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Oxidative stress is becoming increasingly linked to the pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). The antioxidant activity of flavonoids has attracted attention for their possible role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an antioxidant mechanism is involved in the aneurysm formation inhibitory effect afforded by quercetin. Male C57/BL6 mice received quercetin continuously from 2 weeks prior to and 6 weeks following the AAA induction with extraluminal CaCl2. Quercetin treatment decreased AAA incidence and inhibited the reactive oxygen species generation, nitrotyrosine formation and lipid peroxidation production in the aortic tissue during AAA development. In addition, quercetintreated mice exhibited significantly lower expression of the p47phox subunit of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase and inducible nitric oxide synthase, as well as coordinated downregulation of manganesesuperoxide dismutase activities and glutathione peroxidase (GPx)1 and GPx3 expression. Quercetin also blunted the expression of cJun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and phosphoJNK and, in addition, diminished activation of the activator protein (AP)1 transcription factor. Gelatin zymography showed that quercetin eliminated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)2 and MMP9 activation during AAA formation. In conclusion, the inhibitory effects of quercetin on oxidative stress and MMP activation, through modulation of JNK/AP1 signaling, may partly account for its benefit in CaCl2 induced AAA.

Mol Med Rep . 2014 Feb;9(2):435-42

Protective effects of onion-derived quercetin on glutamate-mediated hippocampal neuronal cell death.

BACKGROUND: Neurodegener-ative diseases are characterized by progressive neuron degeneration in specific functional systems of the central or peripheral nervous system. This study investigated the protective effects of quercetin isolated from onion on neuronal cells and its protective mechanisms against glutamate-induced apoptosis in HT22 cells. MATERIALS AND METHODS: HT22 cells were cultured to study the neuroprotective mechanism of quercetin against glutamate-mediated oxidative stress. The intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and mitochondrial membrane potential (DYm) were measured. The protein expression of calpain, spectrin,Bcl-2, Bax, Bid, cytochrome c, and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) was evaluated by Western blotting. RESULTS: Quercetin had a protective effect by reducing both intracellular ROS overproduction and glutamate-mediated Ca(2+) influx. These effects were due to the downregulation of several apoptosis-related biochemical markers. Calpain expression was reduced and spectrin cleavage was inhibited by quercetin in glutamate-exposed HT22 cells. Disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential (DYm), activation of the pro-apoptotic proteins Bid and Bax, and cytochrome c release in response to glutamate-induced oxidative stress were reduced. Quercetin also suppressed phosphorylation of MAPKs. CONCLUSION: This is the first report on the detailed mechanisms of the protective effect of quercetin on HT22 cells. Onion extract and quercetin may be useful for preventing or treating neurodegenerative disorders.

Pharmacogn Mag . 2013 Oct;9(36):302-8

Quercetin up-regulates mitochondrial complex-I activity to protect against programmed cell death in rotenone model of Parkinson’s disease in rats.

We tested quercetin, a dietary bioflavonoid with potent free radical scavenging action and antioxidant activity, for its neuroprotective effects in rotenone-induced hemi-parkinsonian rats. Rats were infused unilaterally with rotenone into the substantia nigra, and quercetin (25-75mg/kg, i.p.) was administered at 12-h intervals for 4days, and analyzed on the 5th day. Amphetamine- or apomorphine-induced unilateral rotations were significantly reduced in quercetin-treated rats, when analyzed on 14th or 16th day post-surgery, respectively. Quercetin possessed potent hydroxyl radical scavenging action in a cells-free, Fenton-like reaction in test tubes, and in isolated mitochondria when measured by salicylate hydroxylation method. We observed dose-dependent attenuation of the rotenone-induced loss in striatal dopamine, and nigral oxidized and reduced glutathione, as well as the increases in endogenous antioxidant enzymes (catalase and superoxide dismutase) activities supporting the notion that quercetin-effect is mediated via its powerful hydroxyl radicals-scavenging and antioxidant actions. Quercetin’s dose-dependent ability to up-regulate mitochondrial complex-I activity, as evidenced by NADH-oxidation, and as seen in blue native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) staining in both the contra- and ipsi-lateral nigra suggests the containment of reactive oxygen production at the mitochondrial level. Rotenone-induced induction of NADH-diaphorase activity in the nigral neurons, and its attenuation by quercetin pointed to the possible involvement of nitric oxide too. Reversal of neuronal death induced by rotenone as observed by increased tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells and decreased TdT-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) staining in the substantia nigra confirmed the potential of quercetin to revamp dopaminergic cells following oxidative stress mediated programmed cell death and neuronal demise. The present study strongly implicates quercetin’s potential ability to repair mitochondrial electron transport defects and to up-regulate its function as the basis of neuroprotection observed in a mitochondrial neurotoxin-induced Parkinsonism.

Neuroscience . 2013 Apr 16;236:136-48

Effect of quercetin on traits of the metabolic syndrome, endothelial function and inflammation in men with different APOE isoforms.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The polyphenol quercetin may prevent cardiovascular diseases due to its vasorelaxant and anti-oxidative properties. We investigated the effects of quercetin on risk factors of atherosclerosis, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, depending on the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype. METHODS AND RESULTS: In a double-blind crossover study 49 healthy male subjects with APOE genotype 3/3 (n = 19), 3/4 (n = 22) and 4/4 (n = 8) consumed 150 mg/d quercetin or placebo for 8 weeks each, intermitted by a three-week washout phase. After each intervention, endothelial function, anthropometry, metabolic and inflammatory parameters were measured in the fasting and postprandial state following a standardized lipid-rich meal. Endothelial function was not changed. In all subjects combined, quercetin significantly decreased waist circumference (P = 0.004) and postprandial systolic blood pressure (P = 0.044). Postprandial triacylglycerol concentrations were significantly decreased and HDL-cholesterol concentrations increased after quercetin as compared to placebo consumption (P = 0.025). Quercetin also moderately increased levels of TNFa (P = 0.024). There was a significant gene-diet interaction for waist circumference and for body mass index (BMI). CONCLUSIONS: Quercetin supplementation improved some risk factors of cardiovascular disease, yet exerted slightly pro-inflammatory effects. Genotype-dependent effects were seen only on waist circumference and BMI.

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis . 2013 May;23(5):403-9

The polyphenol quercetin protects the mev-1 mutant of Caenorhabditis elegans from glucose-induced reduction of survival under heat-stress depending on SIR-2.1, DAF-12, and proteasomal activity.

SCOPE: Hyperglycemia is a hallmark of diabetes mellitus but slighter increases of blood glucose levels are observed also during ageing. Using the Caenorhabditis elegans mev-1 mutant, we identified molecular mechanisms underlying the protection from glucose toxicity by the polyphenol quercetin. METHODS AND RESULTS: We fed C. elegans mev-1 mutants on a liquid medium supplemented with 10 mM glucose, which resulted in a reduced survival at 37°C. The polyphenol quercetin (1 µM) was able to prevent glucose-induced lifespan reduction completely. RNA interference revealed that the sirtuin SIR-2.1, the nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12, and its putative co-activator MDT-15 were critical for the quercetin effects. Moreover, RNA interference for key factors of proteostasis reduced survival, which was not further affected by glucose or quercetin, suggesting that those proteins are a target for both substances. Besides unfolded protein response, proper functionality of the proteasome was shown to be crucial for the survival enhancing effects of quercetin and the polyphenol was finally demonstrated to activate proteasomal degradation. CONCLUSION: Our studies demonstrate that lowest concentrations of quercetin prevent a glucose-induced reduction of survival. SIR-2.1, DAF-12, and MDT-15 were identified as targets that activate unfolded protein response and proteasomal degradation to limit the accumulation of functionally restricted proteins.

Mol Nutr Food Res . 2014 May;58(5):984-94

Quercetin reduces high-fat diet-induced fat accumulation in the liver by regulating lipid metabolism genes.

To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the influence of quercetin on the physiological effects of hyperlipidemia, we investigated its role in the prevention of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and found that it regulated hepatic gene expression related to lipid metabolism. Quercetin supplementation in mice significantly reduced the HFD-induced gains in body weight, liver weight, and white adipose tissue weight compared with the mice fed only with HFD. It also significantly reduced HFD-induced increases in serum lipids, including cholesterol, triglyceride, and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance (TBARS). Consistent with the reduced liver weight and white adipose tissue weight, hepatic lipid accumulation and the size of lipid droplets in the epididymal fat pads were also reduced by quercetin supplementation. To further investigate how quercetin may reduce obesity, we analyzed lipid metabolism-related genes in the liver. Quercetin supplementation altered expression profiles of several lipid metabolism-related genes, including Fnta, Pon1, Pparg, Aldh1b1, Apoa4, Abcg5, Gpam, Acaca, Cd36, Fdft1, and Fasn, relative to those in HFD control mice. The expression patterns of these genes observed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction were confirmed by immunoblot assays. Collectively, our results indicate that quercetin prevents HFD-induced obesity in C57B1/6 mice, and its anti-obesity effects may be related to the regulation of lipogenesis at the level of transcription.

Phytother Res . 2013 Jan;27(1):139-43

Site-specific anticancer effects of dietary flavonoid quercetin.

Food-derived flavonoid quercetin, widely distributed in onions, apples, and tea, is able to inhibit growth of various cancer cells indicating that this compound can be considered as a good candidate for anticancer therapy. Although the exact mechanism of this action is not thoroughly understood, behaving as antioxidant and/or prooxidant as well as modulating different intracellular signaling cascades may all play a certain role. Such inhibitory activity of quercetin has been shown to depend first of all on cell lines and cancer types; however, no comprehensive site-specific analysis of this effect has been published. In this review article, cytotoxicity constants of quercetin measured in various human malignant cell lines of different origin were compiled from literature and a clear cancer selective action was demonstrated. The most sensitive malignant sites for quercetin revealed to be cancers of blood, brain, lung, uterine, and salivary gland as well as melanoma whereas cytotoxic activity was higher in more aggressive cells compared to the slowly growing cells showing that the most harmful cells for the organism are probably targeted. More research is needed to overcome the issues of poor water solubility and relatively low bioavailability of quercetin as the major obstacles limiting its clinical use.

Nutr Cancer . 2014;66(2):177-93