Influence of dietary quercetin on glutathione redox status in mice

Author(s): Meyers KJ, Rudolf JL, Mitchell AE


Flavonoids such as quercetin have been shown to serve as a protective defense against oxidative damage in vivo. However, the bioavailability of quercetin depends on the food source and type of glycosidic moiety linked to the molecule. In this study, mice were fed 1 mg/day quercetin in the form of quercetin aglycone, rutin, apple, or onion, and reduced glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), and protein-GSH mixed disulfides were determined to investigate the influence of dietary quercetin on the GSH redox status in metabolically active tissues, mitochondria, and plasma of mice. All quercetin treatment groups produced increases in the GSH:GSSG ratio and decreases in mixed disulfide levels in hepatic tissue. Cardiac tissue did not change in response to dietary quercetin; however, cardiac mitochondria demonstrated a reduction in the GSH:GSSG ratio and an increase in protein mixed disulfide levels. No significant changes were observed in the plasma GSH:GSSG ratio, but mixed disulfide levels were decreased for all of the diets. The changes in plasma redox status did not parallel the changes in the tissues. Onion fed mice demonstrated the greatest increases in GSH:GSSG ratios and the greatest decreases in protein mixed disulfide levels of all diets compared. For all treatment groups, increases in the GSH:GSSG ratios corresponded with decreases in protein mixed disulfide levels. The results of this study indicate that quercetin influences GSH:GSSG ratios and protein thiolation in a tissue-specific manner and that these effects are dependent on food source and bioavailability.

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