Objective: Quercetin is a flavonoid found in plant foods and herbal medicines. It possesses antidepressant-like effects in forced swimming test-loaded rodents. We wanted to clarify the mechanism of action of dietary quercetin for exerting antidepressant-like effects. The effect of quercetin and its antioxidative metabolite quercetin 3-glucuronide (Q3GA) on the activity of mouse brain mitochondrial monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) was evaluated by measuring the deamination product of serotonin, 5-hydroxyindole acetaldehyde (5-HIAL).
Methods: An ultraviolet high-performance liquid chromatographic analysis was applied to measure the 5-HIAL generated by the reaction of MAO-A with serotonin. The inhibitory effect of quercetin and Q3GA on mitochondrial MAO-A activity was estimated by the content of 5-HIAL and hydrogen peroxide accompanied by the MAO-A reaction.
Results: Quercetin (but not Q3GA) decreased the production of 5-HIAL by MAO-A activity. Q3GA inhibited the generation of hydrogen peroxide from the MAO-A reaction with serotonin. A periodic forced swimming test in mice increased brain mitochondrial MAO-A activity. Brain mitochondrial MAO-A activity was decreased in mice administered quercetin for 7 d, but its effect was much weaker than that of the selective MAO-A inhibitor clorgyline.
Conclusion: Quercetin is effective in the modulation of serotonergic activity by attenuating mitochondrial MAO-A activity in the brain. Its antioxidative metabolite Q3GA attenuates oxidative stress by interrupting the generation of hydrogen peroxide accompanying the MAO-A reaction.
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