Quercetin intake with exercise modulates lipoprotein metabolism and reduces atherosclerosis plaque formation

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014 May 27;11:22. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-22. eCollection 2014.


Study objectives: We proposed that mice supplemented with quercetin, a class of flavonoids known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, will have profound effects on the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis when combined with exercise.

Study design: Forty C57BL6 LDLr -/- mice were divided into four groups (n = 10): control untreated (NN); control group supplemented with 100 μg/day of quercetin (NQ); exercise group (EN); and exercise group supplemented with 100 μg/day of quercetin (EQ). All animals were fed atherogenic diet. The exercise groups were run on a treadmill for 30 minutes, 15 m/min for 5 days/week for 30 days. After 30 day animals were sacrificed and tissues were harvested.

Results and conclusion: Mice supplemented with quercetin during exercise sessions had 78% atherosclerotic plaque reduction compared to control mice and 40% less atherosclerotic plaque formation compared to control group supplemented with quercetin. The manifestation of the combination of quercetin supplementation with exercise was more evident in the pro-reverse cholesterol transport genes, indicating a plausible mechanism for their combined beneficial effect. The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, the major cause of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), is multifactorial and therefore its treatment approaches and the ability to regress the plaque are complicated. Data from research on animal models and clinical studies have indicated that moderate daily exercise can alleviate the risk for the development of atherosclerotic plaques, while the same has not been true for the supplementation of antioxidants.

Keywords: Exercise; Flavonoids; Inflammation; Lipoproteins; Quercetin.