Although iron is an essential element for life, its excess is linked to many disorders. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of quercetin on iron induced toxicity on the heart and brain in adult male albino rats. 50 adult male albino rats were equally divided into groups; Group I (negative control), Group II (positive control) received normal saline 0.9%. Group III (Quercetin group) was treated with quercetin (2 g/kg daily) for 8 weeks and Group IV (Iron group) was injected intraperitoneal daily with iron dextran (300 mg/kg) for 4 weeks. Group V (Iron and quercetin group) was injected intraperitoneal daily with iron dextran (300 mg/kg) for 4 weeks, and then gavaged orally with quercetin (2 g/kg once a day) for another 4 weeks. At the end of the study, blood samples were taken to estimate the serum levels of iron, malondialdehyde (MDA), and total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Heart and brain specimens were dissected from scarified rats to estimate tissue level of iron, histopathological examination, immunohistochemical staining for tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) and comet assay. Iron overload caused increases in serum, heart and brain iron levels; increase in serum MDA and decrease in serum TAC with degenerative changes in the examined tissues and increasing expression of TNFα and DNA degradation. After administration of quercetin, a significant improvement in all these parameters was observed. Quercetin acts as iron chelator decreasing serum and tissue iron levels, ameliorating oxidative stress, inflammatory effects and DNA damage induced by iron overload. More studies are recommended to evaluate the beneficial effects of quercetin with iron excess.
Key words: Iron, quercetin, heart toxicity, brain toxicity.
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