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Cell Biol Int. 2007 Oct;31(10):1245-50. Epub 2007 May 10.

Antioxidative and prooxidative effects of quercetin on A549 cells.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics, University of Łódź, Banacha 12/16, 90-237 Łódź, Poland.


Quercetin, a common plant polyphenol, has been reported to show both antioxidant and prooxidant properties. We studied the effects of quercetin on A549 cells in in vitro culture. We found that low concentrations of the flavonoid stimulated cell proliferation and increased total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the cells; while higher concentrations of the flavonoid decreased cell survival and viability, thiol content, TAC and activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione S-transferase. Quercetin decreased production of reactive oxygen species in the cells but produced peroxides in the medium. The cellular effects of quercetin are therefore complex and include both antioxidant effects and induction of oxidative stress due to formation of reactive oxygen species in the extracellular medium.

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