Reversal of aging and chronic ethanol-induced cognitive dysfunction by quercetin a bioflavonoid

Free Radic Res. 2003 Nov;37(11):1245-52. doi: 10.1080/10715760310001616014.


Cognitive dysfunction, one of the most striking age-related impairments seen in human beings, has been correlated to the vulnerability of the brain to increased oxidative stress during aging process. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with strong antioxidant properties. Experiments were performed to study the possible effects of quercetin on cognitive performance of young, aged or ethanol-intoxicated mice (an animal model for cognition dysfunction) using one trail step down type of passive avoidance and elevated plus maze tasks, respectively. Aged or chronic ethanol-treated mice showed poor retention of memory in step-down passive avoidance and in elevated plus-maze task. Chronic administration of quercetin (10, 25 and 50 mg/kg) for 30 days or its co-administration with ethanol (15% w/v, 2g/kg per orally) for 24 days significantly reversed the age-related or chronic ethanol-induced retention deficits in both the test paradigms. However, in both memory paradigms chronic administration of quercetin failed to modulate the retention performance of young mice. Chronic quercetin administration for 30 days also reversed age associated increase in TBARS levels and decline in forebrain total glutathione (GSH), SOD and catalase levels. Chronic ethanol administration to young mice produced an increase in lipid peroxidation, and a decline in forebrain total glutathione (GSH), SOD and catalase levels, which was significantly reversed by the co-administration of quercetin (10, 25 and 50 mg/kg). The results of the present study showed that chronic quercetin treatment reverses cognitive deficits in aged and ethanol-intoxicated mice, which is associated with its antioxidant property.

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Glutathione / drug effects
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Quercetin / administration & dosage
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Ethanol
  • Quercetin
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione