Protective Effect of Semisynthetic and Natural Flavonoid on Aged Rat Microglia-enriched Cultures

Neurotox Res. 2019 Nov;36(4):844-858. doi: 10.1007/s12640-019-00071-5. Epub 2019 Jun 22.


The ROS-mediated lysosomal dysfunction and coinciding deterioration of mitochondrial function are thought to be the prominent mechanisms responsible for aging. Microglia, the resident macrophages in the central nervous system, were postulated to belong to the major targets vulnerable to these detrimental processes, acting as principal drivers in brain aging. The present study investigated the potential protective effect of the semisynthetic flavonoid 3'-O-(3-chloropivaloyl) quercetin (CPQ) and quercetin (Q) on microglia-enriched mixed brain cultures (MBCs) established from aged Wistar rats. Both flavonoids tested suppressed the development of lipofuscin-related autofluorescence in aged cells. Further ensuing protective effects included reduction of protein oxidation markers in aged cells. Moreover, unlike Q, CPQ significantly suppressed sensitivity of aged cells to stimulation of superoxide burst. Other activation markers, cellular hypertrophy and isolectin B4 binding, were also downregulated by treatment with both CPQ and Q. In conclusion, results of our study suggest that both flavonoids tested may protect microglia with a quite comparable efficacy against aging-related accumulated alterations. The protective mechanism can include interference with the ROS-mediated vicious cycles involving lysosomal dysfunction. Nevertheless, the lipophilized quercetin, CPQ, a compound with proposed enhanced biological availability compared to parent molecule, can represent an agent potentially useful for new effective pharmaceutical intervention against brain aging, overcoming the limitations of clinical applicability of quercetin.

Keywords: Aging; Flavonoids; Lipofuscin; Microglia; Mitochondria; ROS.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microglia / drug effects*
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Quercetin / chemical synthesis
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Flavonoids
  • Lipofuscin
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Quercetin