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Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Dec 15;482(1-3):281-5.

Anti- and prooxidant effects of chronic quercetin administration in rats.

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Department of Biotechnology, Korea University, Anamdong, Sungbuk, Seoul 136-701, South Korea.


The present study was performed to investigate the effects of chronic administration of quercetin on lipid peroxidation and glutathione concentration in rat liver. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups, one of which was fed a normal diet and the other a vitamin E-free diet. Each of these groups was divided further into three subgroups and treated with quercetin administered orally at either 2 or 20 mg/day or with vehicle for 4 weeks. The concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in serum and liver increased following quercetin treatment, and these increases were significantly greater in rats maintained on a vitamin E-free diet. Quercetin significantly decreased the concentration of malondialdehyde (an indicator of lipid peroxidation) in the liver and this decrease was more pronounced in vitamin E-deprived rats than in those maintained on a normal diet (55-60% and 25-35% decrease in malondialdehyde concentrations, respectively). Quercetin treatment decreased the glutathione concentration and glutathione reductase activity (40 and 34%, respectively) in the liver significantly and to a similar extent in vitamin E-deprived and -undeprived rats. Collectively, these results suggest that quercetin may act not only as an antioxidant, but also as a prooxidant in rats.

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