Several lines of evidence indicate that quercetin, a polyphenol derived in the diet from fruit and vegetables, contributes to cardiovascular health. We aimed to investigate the effects of dietary quercetin on endothelial function and atherosclerosis in mice fed a high-fat diet. Wild-type C57BL/6 (WT) and apolipoprotein E gene knockout (ApoE(-/-)) mice were fed: (i) a high-fat diet (HFD) or (ii) a HFD supplemented with 0.05% w/w quercetin (HFD+Q), for 14 weeks. Compared with animals fed HFD, HFD+Q attenuated atherosclerosis in ApoE(-/-) mice. Treatment with the HFD+Q significantly improved endothelium-dependent relaxation of aortic rings isolated from WT but not ApoE(-/-) mice and attenuated hypochlorous acid-induced endothelial dysfunction in aortic rings of both WT and ApoE(-/-) mice. Mechanistic studies revealed that HFD+Q significantly improved plasma F2-isoprostanes, 24h urinary nitrite, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity, and increased heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein expression in the aortas of both WT and ApoE(-/-) mice (P<0.05). HFD+Q also resulted in small changes in plasma cholesterol (P<0.05 in WT) and plasma triacylglycerols (P<0.05 in ApoE (-/-)mice). In a separate experiment, quercetin did not protect against hypochlorite-induced endothelial dysfunction in arteries obtained from heterozygous HO-1 gene knockout mice with low expression of HO-1 protein. Quercetin protects mice fed a HFD against oxidant-induced endothelial dysfunction and ApoE(-/-) mice against atherosclerosis. These effects are associated with improvements in nitric oxide bioavailability and are critically related to arterial induction of HO-1.
Keywords: 1,1-diethyl-2-hydroxy-2-nitroso-hydrazine; ACh; ApoE(−/−); Atherosclerosis; DEANO; Endothelial function; Flavonoid; HAEC; HFD; HO-1; HOCl; NO; Oxidative stress; Polyphenol; Q; Quercetin; ROS; WT; acetylcholine; apolipoprotein E gene knockout; heme oxygenase-1; high-fat diet; human aortic endothelial cells; hypocholorous acid; nitric oxide; quercetin; reactive oxygen species; wild-type.
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