Epigenetic regulation by quercetin: a comprehensive review focused on its biological mechanisms

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2023 Dec 7:1-20. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2023.2278760. Online ahead of print.


Epigenetics regulates gene expression and play significant roles across diverse disease states. Epigenetics mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, microRNAs/lncRNA, and N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA methylation, elicit heritable but reversible modifications in gene expression without modifying the DNA sequence. Recent research suggests that certain natural phytochemicals with chemopreventive properties have the potential to function as epigenetic regulators. Quercetin, a derivative of natural flavonoid glycosides and a constituent of the human diet, is linked to a variety of health benefits including anti-inflammatory, anticancer activity, antiapoptotic, antihypertensive, and neuroprotective effects. Recent findings suggest that quercetin possesses the ability to modulate canonical biochemical signaling pathways and exert an impact on epigenetic networks. This review aims to synthesize the most recent research findings that elucidate the potential biological effects of quercetin and its influence on in vitro and in vivo models via epigenetic mechanisms. In light of our findings, it is evident that quercetin possesses the potential to function as an exemplary instance of naturally derived phytochemicals, which can be effectively employed as a pivotal constituent in functional foods and dietary supplements aimed at the amelioration of various ailments. More specifically, its mechanism of action involves the alteration of diverse epigenetic targets.

Keywords: DNA methylation; epigenetic; histone modifications; m6A; microRNAs; quercetin.

Publication types

  • Review