The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 13 No. 6 • December 2010

Rejuvenation with Quercetin

Anti-aging and Rejuvenating Effects of
Quercetin in Aging and Senescent Fibroblasts

A new paper1 reports intriguing anti-aging effects of quercetin, a polyphenol found ubiquitously in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and plant-derived beverages such as tea and wine.

It has been reported1 that proteasome inhibition accelerates the onset of replicative senescence in human embryonic fibroblast cultures. The proteasome is an important cellular structure that degrades old or faulty (such as oxidized) proteins and also acts to regulate signal transduction by degrading certain signaling molecules after their desired period of activation. “A reduction in proteasome activity has been observed in aged cells of diverse origins and in replicatively senescent cells.”2 The accumulation of oxidized and damaged cellular proteins accompanies the loss of proteasome activity.

In the new paper1 on quercetin, the researchers found quercetin and its fatty derivative, quercetin caprylate, to be potent proteasome activators. Moreover, they found these compounds to have a rejuvenating effect on middle-aged and terminally senescent primary fibroblasts. Young HFL-1 (human embryonic fibroblasts) cells treated continuously with 2 μg/ml of quercetin throughout their lifespan maintained the young morphology longer than the same cells not treated with quercetin. However, as the researchers found that the quercetin had a growth retardation effect on the cultures, they also tested quercetin caprylate to see whether eliminating the growth retardation would impact the effect on youthful morphology. “Indeed, a minimal (less than 5%) but still statistically significant increase of cellular lifespan was scored upon QU-CAP [quercetin caprylate] treatment as compared to their control counterparts …” Cells treated with the two compounds were reported to be more elongated, growing in parallel arrays as compared to the higher number of flattened cells with more irregular shape in the control cultures.

Even more strikingly, when middle aged or terminally senescent cells were treated with quercetin or quercetin caprylate, they exhibited a higher proliferation rate (even the terminally senescent cells, which started with a proliferation rate of 0!). (Middle aged cells were treated with 2 μg/ml quercetin, 0.5, 2 and 5 μg/ml quercetin caprylate or the diluents (0.1% DMSO or 0.1% caprylate) for 5 consecutive days and for two weeks for the terminally senescent cells.) Moreover, the cells displayed a “rejuvenated phenotype” with more elongated morphology and with lower numbers of beta-galactosidase (a marker of senescence) containing cells. Both quercetin and quercetin caprylate improved oxidative resistance in the cells.

Importantly, both quercetin and quercetin caprylate were found to increase CT-L proteasome activity, by about 1.5 fold by quercetin caprylate to about 2.4 fold by quercetin.

We both take quercetin (there are 128 mg of quercetin in the recommended 12 capsules/day dose of our multivitamin multimineral antioxidant high potency formulation).


  1. Chondrogianni et al. Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin. Exp Gerontol 45:763-71 (2010).
  2. Hwang et al. Age-associated decrease in proteasome content and activities in human dermal fibroblasts: restoration of normal level of proteasome subunits reduces aging markers in fibroblasts from elderly persons. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 62(5):490-9 (2007).

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