Quercetin reduces inflammatory pain: inhibition of oxidative stress and cytokine production

J Nat Prod. 2009 Nov;72(11):1975-9. doi: 10.1021/np900259y.


Quercetin (1) is known to have both antioxidant and antinociceptive effects. However, the mechanism involved in its antinociceptive effect is not fully elucidated. Cytokines and reactive oxygen species have been implicated in the cascade of events resulting in inflammatory pain. Therefore, we evaluated the antinociceptive mechanism of 1 focusing on the role of cytokines and oxidative stress. Intraperitoneal and oral treatments with 1 dose-dependently inhibited inflammatory nociception induced by acetic acid and phenyl-p-benzoquinone and also the second phase of formalin- and carrageenin-induced mechanical hypernociception. Compound 1 also inhibited the hypernociception induced by cytokines (e.g., TNFalpha and CXCL1), but not by inflammatory mediators that directly sensitize the nociceptor such as PGE2 and dopamine. On the other hand, 1 reduced carrageenin-induced IL-1beta production as well as carrageenin-induced decrease of reduced glutathione (GSH) levels. These results suggest that 1 exerts its analgesic effect by inhibiting pro-nociceptive cytokine production and the oxidative imbalance mediation of inflammatory pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / chemistry
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / drug effects*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Quercetin / chemistry
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*


  • Analgesics
  • Antioxidants
  • Biological Products
  • Cytokines
  • Quercetin