The study of the quercetin action on human erythrocyte membranes

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Quercetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid that exerts multiple pharmacological effects. In our previous study, we showed that quercetin greatly affects the lipid membrane. In this report, a study of quercetin on human erythrocyte membrane has been performed to determine the influence of this flavonoid on the fluidity and the conformational changes of membrane proteins. An additional aim of the study was to find how quercetin presence affects the resistance of membrane to haemolytic agents. The results showed that incorporation of quercetin into the erythrocyte membranes caused the changes of the partition coefficient of the Tempo spin label between the water and polar head group phases. In the studies, the W/S ratio has been used as a monitor of changes in protein conformation and in the environment within the membrane. It was observed that quercetin caused an increase in protein-protein interactions in human erythrocyte membranes. Haemolytic action of quercetin in the dark was also investigated. This compound showed protective effect against hypotonic haemolysis. However, in the heat-induced haemolysis quercetin caused acceleration of haemolysis. Dark reaction of erythrocyte with quercetin resulted in a shrinkage of the cells and alteration of their shapes. From the results we have concluded that modification of erythrocyte membrane by quercetin proceeds via reaction with membrane lipids and proteins.

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