International journal of radiation biology

A moderate protective effect of quercetin against γ-irradiation- and storage-induced oxidative damage in red blood cells for transfusion.

PMID 24369823


To investigate the extent of γ-irradiation-induced oxidative membrane damage and antioxidant activity of quercetin in long-term, cold stored (4°C) acid-citrate-dextrose- preserved human red blood cells (RBC). The extracellular activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) was measured to assess RBC membrane integrity. Lipid peroxidation and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were quantified by thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and Ellman's reagent, respectively. During storage of non-irradiated RBC (up 21 days) the LDH activity in the supernatant increased with time. In contrast to a low dose of ionizing radiation (30 Gy), irradiation at higher, but still clinically relevant doses, of 40-50 Gy resulted in elevation of the post-storage extracellular LDH activity. Quercetin (2-50 μM) dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) significantly increased the LDH release in the irradiated and non-irradiated RBC, reflecting an increase of RBC membrane permeability. In the presence of ethanol as a solvent quercetin protected RBC against storage-induced oxidative damage - it inhibited the LDH release, GSH depletion, and lipid peroxidation. The level of protection offered by quercetin against the radiation- and storage-induced oxidative damage to RBC does not seem to be sufficient to warrant its application as an additive for conservation purposes. The findings indicate that the solvent can modulate a response of RBC to water-insoluble antioxidants changing their properties from anti-oxidative to pro-oxidative.