Quercetin restores plasma nitrite and nitroso species levels in renovascular hypertension
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Quercetin has antioxidants properties which may increase nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. However, the effects of quercetin on NO status have been poorly studied. We evaluated whether quercetin improves the plasma levels of NO metabolites in two-kidney one-clip (2K1C) hypertensive rats and assessed its effect on endothelial function. Sham-operated and 2K1C rats were treated with quercetin (10 mg−1 kg−1 day−1 by gavage) or vehicle for 3 weeks. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was monitored weekly. Vascular responses to acetylcholine (Ach) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) were assessed in hindquarter vascular bed. Plasma nitrate levels were assessed by Griess reagent and plasma nitrite and nitroso species (S, N-nitroso species) were assessed by ozone- based chemiluminescence. Aortic NADPH oxidase activity and superoxide production were evaluated. While quercetin had no effects in control normotensive rats (P > 0.05), it significantly reduced SBP in 2K1C rats (P < 0.05). At the end of treatment, plasma nitrate levels were similar in all experimental groups (P > 0.05). However, plasma nitrite and the nitroso species levels were significantly lower in 2K1C rats when compared with controls (P < 0.05). Quercetin treatment restored plasma nitrite and nitroso species levels to those found in the sham-vehicle group (P < 0.05). While quercetin treatment induced no significant changes in responses to SNP (P > 0.05), it restored the vascular responses to Ach. Quercetin significantly attenuated 2K1C-hypertension-induced increases in NADPH oxidase activity and vascular superoxide production (P < 0.05). These results suggest that the antihypertensive effects of quercetin were associated with increased NO formation and improved endothelial function, which probably result from its antioxidant effects.