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J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 Mar;40(2):131-40. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.40.131.

Lowering effects of onion intake on oxidative stress biomarkers in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

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National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, 360, Kusawa, Ano-cho, Tsu, Mie 514-2392, Japan.


The protective effect of onion against oxidative stress in streptozotosin-induced diabetic rats was investigated in comparison with that of quercetin aglycone. We measured oxidative stress biomarkers involving the susceptibility of the plasma against copper ion-induced lipid peroxidation, which was estimated by the amounts of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and cholesteryl ester hydroperoxides, and urine TBARS and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine contents. After the 12-week feeding period, plasma glucose levels and these biomarkers increased in diabetic rats compared to normal rats. In diabetic rats fed a 6.0% onion diet (quercetin equivalent: 0.023%), quercetin metabolites accumulated in the plasma at concentrations of approximately 35 microM. Onion intake decreased plasma glucose levels and lowered the oxidative stress biomarkers. On the other hand, quercetin metabolites in the plasma of rats fed a diet with 0.023% quercetin aglycone were found at lower concentrations (14.2 microM) than the rats fed the onion diet. Furthermore, oxidative stress biomarkers were higher in the quercetin diet group compared to the onion diet group. These results strongly suggest that onion intake suppresses diabetes-induced oxidative stress more effectively than the intake of the same amount of quercetin aglycone alone.


antioxidant; diabetes; onion; oxidative stress; quercetin

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