Effects of Quercetin on antioxidant defense in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

Ruth A. Sanders, Frederick M. Rauscher, John B. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

124 Scopus citations


In light of evidence that some complications of diabetes mellitus may be caused or exacerbated by oxidative damage, we investigated the effects of subacute treatment with the antioxidant quercetin on tissue antioxidant defense systems in streptozotocin-induced diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats (30 days after streptozotocin induction). Quercetin, 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-3,5,7-trihydroxy-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one, was administered at a dose of 10mg/kg/day, ip for 14 days, after which liver, kidney, brain, and heart were assayed for degree of lipid peroxidation, reduced and oxidized glutathione content, and activities of the free-radical detoxifying enzymes catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase. Treatment of normal rats with quercetin increased serum AST and increased hepatic concentration of oxidized glutathione. All tissues from diabetic animals exhibited disturbances in antioxidant defense when compared with normal controls. Quercetin treatment of diabetic rats reversed only the diabetic effects on brain oxidized glutathione concentration and on hepatic glutathione peroxidase activity. By contrast, a 20% increase in hepatic lipid peroxidation, a 40% decline in hepatic glutathione concentration, an increase in renal (23%) and cardiac (40%) glutathione peroxidase activities, and a 65% increase in cardiac catalase activity reflect intensified diabetic effects after treatment with quercetin. These results call into question the ability of therapy with the antioxidant quercetin to reverse diabetic oxidative stress in an overall sense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 19 2001


  • Brain
  • Diabetes
  • Flavonoids
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Oxidative stress
  • Quercetin
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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