Quercetin protects against chronic aluminum-induced oxidative stress and ensuing biochemical, cholinergic, and neurobehavioral impairments in rats

Neurotox Res. 2013 May;23(4):336-57. doi: 10.1007/s12640-012-9351-6. Epub 2012 Aug 24.


In this study, we investigated the protective effect of chronic quercetin (a natural flavanoid) administration against Al-induced cognitive impairments, oxidative damage, and cholinergic dysfunction in male Wistar rats. Al lactate (10 mg/kg b.wt./day) was administered intragastrically to rats which were pre-treated with quercetin (10 mg/kg b.wt./day, intragastrically) for 12 weeks. At the end of 6 or 12 weeks of the study, several behavioral parameters were carried out to evaluate cognitive functions. Further after 12 weeks of exposure, various biochemical tests and H&E staining were performed to assess the extent of oxidative damage and neurodegeneration, respectively. Al levels were also estimated in HC and CS regions of rat brain. Chronic administration of quercetin caused significant improvement in the muscle coordination, cognition, anxiety, locomotion, and initial exploratory patterns in Al-treated rats. Quercetin supplementation to Al-treated animals also reduced oxidative stress, decreased ROS production, increased MnSOD activity and glutathione levels with decreased lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation. It increased AChE activity and ATP levels in HC and CS regions of rat brain compared to Al-treated rats. Quercetin administration ameliorates Al-induced neurodegenerative changes in Al-treated rats as seen by H&E staining. Further with the help of atomic absorption spectrophotometer, we found that quercetin supplementation to Al-treated rats also decreases the accumulation of Al in the HC and CS regions of rat brain. Taken together the results of this study show that quercetin offers neuroprotection against Al-induced cognitive impairments, cholinergic dysfunction, and associated oxidative damage in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Cholinergic Neurons / drug effects
  • Cholinergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Quercetin
  • Aluminum