Resveratrol and quercetin, two natural polyphenols, reduce apoptotic neuronal cell death induced by neuroinflammation

J Neurosci Res. 2008 Feb 1;86(2):403-10. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21503.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a movement disorder characterized by a progressive loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. Microglia activation and neuroinflammation have been associated with the pathogenesis of PD. Indeed, cytokines have been proposed as candidates that mediate the apoptotic cell death of dopaminergic neurons seen in PD. In this study, we investigated the effect of two natural polyphenols, resveratrol and quercetin, on neuroinflammation. For glial cells, we observed that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced mRNA levels of two proinflammatory genes, interleukin 1-alpha and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, are strongly decreased by treatments with resveratrol or quercetin. We also undertook microglial-neuronal coculture to examine the influence of resveratrol and quercetin on dopaminergic neuronal cell death evoked by LPS-activated microglia. Cytotoxicity assays were performed to evaluate the percentage of cell death, with apoptotic cells identified by both the TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling technique and the detection of cleaved caspase-3. We report that treatment of N9 microglial cells with resveratrol or quercetin successfully reduced the inflammation-mediated apoptotic death of neuronal cells in our coculture system. Altogether our results demonstrate that resveratrol and quercetin diminished apoptotic neuronal cell death induced by microglial activation and suggest that these two phytoestrogens may be potent antiinflammatory compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-1alpha / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Polyphenols
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Resveratrol
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Flavonoids
  • Interleukin-1alpha
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Stilbenes
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Quercetin
  • Resveratrol