Molecular medicine reports

Neuroprotective effects of quercetin in a mouse model of brain ischemic/reperfusion injury via anti-apoptotic mechanisms based on the Akt pathway.

PMID 26016839


The present study provided experimental evidence for the neuroprotective effects of quercetin using a rat model of global brain ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Pre‑treatment with quercetin (5 or 10 mg/kg orally (p.o.); once daily) induced a dose‑dependent reduction in I/R‑induced hippocampal neuron cell loss, with 10 mg/kg/day being the lowest dose that achieved maximal neuroprotection. Administration of 10 mg/kg quercetin over at least 3 days prior to I/R was required to improve the survival rate of I/R rats. Fluorescence‑assisted cell sorting, hematoxylin and eosin staining and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling indicated neuronal cell loss in the CA1 hippocampus. Rats that had undergone transient global cerebral ischemia for 15 min followed by 1 h of reperfusion exhibited a significant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the hippocampus. The I/R‑induced ROS overproduction in the hippocampus at 1, 12 and 24 h following I/R was significantly decreased by quercetin pre‑treatment. Western blot analysis revealed that the neuroprotective effects of quercetin (5 and 10 mg/kg/day, p.o.) were associated with an upregulation of the I/R‑induced suppression of B‑cell lymphoma‑2 (Bcl‑2), Bcl extra large and survivin expression as well as phosphorylation of Bcl‑2‑associated death promoter. Furthermore, the neuroprotective effects of quercetin (5, 10 mg/kg/day) in the brain were associated with an upregulation of Akt signaling. These findings suggested that the inhibition of I/R‑induced brain injury by quercetin likely involves a transcriptional mechanism to enhance anti‑apoptotic signaling.