Flavonoids can replace alpha-tocopherol as an antioxidant

FEBS Lett. 2000 May 12;473(2):145-8. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(00)01517-9.


Endogenous antioxidants such as the lipid-soluble vitamin E protect the cell membranes from oxidative damage. Glutathione seems to be able to regenerate alpha-tocopherol via a so-called free radical reductase. The transient protection by reduced glutathione (GSH) against lipid peroxidation in control liver microsomes is not observed in microsomes deficient in alpha-tocopherol. Introduction of antioxidant flavonoids, such as 7-monohydroxyethylrutoside, fisetin or naringenin, into the deficient microsomes restored the GSH-dependent protection, suggesting that flavonoids can take over the role of alpha-tocopherol as a chain-breaking antioxidant in liver microsomal membranes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Flavanones*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • Hydroxyethylrutoside / pharmacology
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavanones
  • Flavonoids
  • Hydroxyethylrutoside
  • Vitamin E
  • Glutathione
  • naringenin
  • fisetin