Quercetin, a bioflavonoid, attenuates thermal hyperalgesia in a mouse model of diabetic neuropathic pain

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Sep;27(6):1001-5. doi: 10.1016/S0278-5846(03)00160-X.


Diabetic neuropathic pain, an important microvascular complication in diabetes mellitus, has been recognised as one of the most difficult types of pain to treat. Lack of understanding of etiology involved, inadequate relief, development of tolerance and potential toxicity of classical antinociceptives warrant the investigation of newer agents to relieve pain. The aim of the present study was to explore the antinociceptive effect of a bioflavonoid, quercetin, both in control and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice. After 4 weeks of a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ (200 mg/kg), both control and diabetic mice were subjected to test thermal hyperalgesia by tail-immersion assay (warm water). Diabetic mice exhibited a significant hyperalgesia as compared with control mice. Quercetin (100 but not 50 mg/kg p.o.) produced a marked increase in tail-flick latencies in both diabetic and nondiabetic mice. Quercetin-induced increase in nociceptive threshold was reversed by naloxone (2 mg/kg i.p.), an opioid receptor antagonist. These preliminary results indicate an antinociceptive activity of quercetin, probably through modulation of opioidergic mechanism and point towards its potential to attenuate diabetic neuropathic pain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperalgesia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*


  • Flavonoids
  • Quercetin