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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20813. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020813. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

3',4'-Dihydroxyflavonol reduces superoxide and improves nitric oxide function in diabetic rat mesenteric arteries.

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  • 1School of Medical Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.



3',4'-Dihydroxyflavonol (DiOHF) is an effective antioxidant that acutely preserves nitric oxide (NO) activity in the presence of elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS). We hypothesized that DiOHF treatment (7 days, 1 mg/kg per day s.c.) would improve relaxation in mesenteric arteries from diabetic rats where endothelial dysfunction is associated with elevated oxidant stress.


In mesenteric arteries from diabetic rats there was an increase in ROS, measured by L-012 and 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate fluorescence. NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide levels, assayed by lucigenin chemiluminescence, were also significantly increased in diabetic mesenteric arteries (diabetes, 4892±946 counts/mg versus normal 2486±344 counts/mg, n = 7-10, p<0.01) associated with an increase in Nox2 expression but DiOHF (2094±300 counts/mg, n = 10, p<0.001) reversed that effect. Acetylcholine (ACh)-induced relaxation of mesenteric arteries was assessed using wire myography (pEC(50) = 7.94±0.13 n = 12). Diabetes significantly reduced the sensitivity to ACh and treatment with DiOHF prevented endothelial dysfunction (pEC(50), diabetic 6.86±0.12 versus diabetic+DiOHF, 7.49±0.13, n = 11, p<0.01). The contribution of NO versus endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) to ACh-induced relaxation was assessed by evaluating responses in the presence of TRAM-34+apamin+iberiotoxin or N-nitro-L-arginine+ODQ respectively. Diabetes impaired the contribution of both NO (maximum relaxation, R(max) diabetic 24±7 versus normal, 68±10, n = 9-10, p<0.01) and EDHF (pEC(50), diabetic 6.63±0.15 versus normal, 7.14±0.12, n = 10-11, p<0.01) to endothelium-dependent relaxation. DiOHF treatment did not significantly affect the EDHF contribution but enhanced NO-mediated relaxation (R(max) 69±6, n = 11, p<0.01). Western blotting demonstrated that diabetes also decreased expression and increased uncoupling of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Treatment of the diabetic rats with DiOHF significantly reduced vascular ROS and restored NO-mediated endothelium-dependent relaxation. Treatment of the diabetic rats with DiOHF also increased eNOS expression, both in total and as a dimer.


DiOHF improves NO activity in diabetes by reducing Nox2-dependent superoxide production and preventing eNOS uncoupling to improve endothelial function.

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