Oxidized quercetin reacts with thiols rather than with ascorbate: implication for quercetin supplementation

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Abstract

Oxidized quercetin reacts with thiols rather than with ascorbate: implication for quercetin supplementation.

Boots AW, Kubben N, Haenen GR, Bast A.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Maastricht University, The Netherlands. a.boots@farmaco.unimaas.nl

When an antioxidant scavenges a reactive species, i.e., when it exerts its antioxidant activity, the antioxidant is converted into potentially harmful oxidation products. In this way, the antioxidant quercetin might yield an ortho-quinone, denoted as QQ, which has four tautomeric forms, i.e., the ortho-quinone and three quinonmethides. We evaluated the interaction of QQ with ascorbate or glutathione (GSH). Ascorbate recycles QQ to the parent compound quercetin, while GSH forms two adducts with QQ, i.e., 6-GSQ and 8-GSQ. When both GSH and ascorbate are present, QQ is converted exclusively into GSQ. In the absence of GSH, protein thiols will be arylated by QQ. This protein arylation is not prevented by ascorbate. Thiol arylation by quinones and quinonmethides can impair several vital enzymes. This implies that the product formed when quercetin displays its antioxidant scavenging effect is toxic in the absence of GSH. Therefore, an adequate GSH level should be maintained when quercetin is supplemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-565
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Volume308
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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