Quercetin uptake in Jurkat cells is extremely rapid and associated with a remarkable accumulation of the flavonoid, dependent on its binding to intracellular components. Cell-associated quercetin is biologically active, quantitatively consumed to promote survival in the presence of reactive species, such as peroxynitrite (ONOO−), or reduction of extracellular oxidants via activation of plasma membrane oxidoreductases. In alternative, quercetin is very slowly released upon post-incubation in drug-free medium, an event significantly accelerated by extracellular albumin. Quercetin uptake is also observed in isolated mitochondria, resulting in an enormous accumulation of the flavonoid, consumed under conditions associated with prevention of lipid peroxidation induced by ONOO−. Interestingly, remarkable quercetin accumulation is also detected in the mitochondria isolated from quercetin-pre-loaded cells, and exposure to either ONOO− or extracellular oxidants caused the parallel loss of both the mitochondrial and cytosolic fractions of the flavonoid. In conclusion, Jurkat cells accumulate large amounts of quercetin and even larger amounts of the flavonoid further accumulate in their mitochondria. Intramitochondrial quercetin appears to be functional for prevention of mitochondrial damage as well as for redistribution to the cytosol, when the fraction of the flavonoid therein retained is progressively consumed either by cell-permeant oxidants or by activation of plasma membrane oxidoreductases.
Mara Fiorania, Andrea Guidarellib, Manuela Blasaa, Catia Azzolinia, Manila Candiraccia, Elena Piattia and Orazio Cantoni. Mitochondria accumulate large amounts of quercetin: prevention of mitochondrial damage and release upon oxidation of the extramitochondrial fraction of the flavonoid. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2009 March Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Urbino “Carlo Bo”, 61029 Urbino, Italy.