Quercetin is a natural polyphenol with proven health beneficial activities. In this study 15 new quercetin derivatives were prepared with the aim to enhance their bioavailability. Modification of their physicochemical properties could herewith improve the action in cells. The prepared compounds were tested for their antioxidant and cytotoxic activity. The ability to scavenge free radicals as well as ferric reducing antioxidant power of the new derivatives was not better than that of unmodified quercetin. But for acetylated esters a better cytotoxic activity was found on human cervical cancer cells HeLa than for the initial molecule. The best effect revealed chloronaphtoquinone quercetin (IC50=13.2 µM). For this compound comparable cytotoxic action on non-cancer murine fibroblast cells was detected (IC50=16.5 µM). The obtained results indicate that appropriate lipophilization of the quercetin molecule could improve its cytotoxic action in cells, probably due to its enhanced bioavailability.
Keywords: HeLa; NIH-3T3; antioxidant; cytotoxicity; quercetin derivatives.