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Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2010 Mar;29(2):158-66. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2009.12.006. Epub 2010 Jan 7.

Quercetin protects rat liver against lead-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis.

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Key Laboratory for Biotechnology on Medicinal Plants of Jiangsu Province, School of Life Science, Xuzhou Normal University, No. 101, Shanghai Road, Tangshan New Area, Xuzhou City 221116, Jiangsu, PR China.


Quercetin, a flavonoid, effectively improved the lead-induced histology changes including structure damage and leukocyte infiltration in rat liver. The present study was designed to explore the protective mechanism of quercetin against lead-induced hepatic injury. We found that quercetin markedly decreased the MDA and H(2)O(2) levels and lowered the GSH/GSSG ratio in the liver of lead-treated rat. Moreover, quercetin markedly restored Cu/Zn-SOD, Mn-SOD, CAT and GPx activities and upregulated mRNA expression levels of these proteins in the liver of lead-treated rat. Western blot analysis showed that quercetin significantly inhibited apoptosis by modulating the ratio of Bax to Bcl-2 expression and suppressing the expression of phosphorylated JNK1/2 and cleaved caspase-3 in the liver of lead-treated rat. In conclusion, these data suggest that quercetin protects the rat liver from lead-induced injury by attenuating lipid peroxidation, renewing the activities of antioxidant enzymes and inhibiting apoptosis.


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