Quercetin and pioglitazone synergistically reverse endothelial dysfunction in isolated aorta from fructose-streptozotocin (F-STZ)-induced diabetic rats

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Pioglitazone is an anti-diabetic drug with potential to cause adverse effects following prolonged use. This study, therefore, investigated the effects of combination treatment of a subliminal concentration of pioglitazone and quercetin, a potent antioxidant, on vascular reactivity of aorta isolated from fructose-streptozotocin (F-STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Relaxation to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside, and contraction to phenylephrine were tested in organ bath chambers following pre-incubation with vehicle (DMSO; 0.05%), quercetin (10–7 M), pioglitazone (10–7 M), or their combination (P+Q; 10–7 M each drug). Subliminal concentration of quercetin or pioglitazone did not alter the acetylcholine- induced relaxation nor the phenylephrine-induced contraction in both normal rat and diabetic F-STZ induced tissues. However, P+Q combination synergistically improved the impaired acetylcholine-induced relaxation and decreased the elevated phenylephrine-induced contraction in aortic rings from diabetic, but not in the normal rats. Neither mono nor combination treatment altered sodium nitroprusside-induced relaxation. The combination also synergistically decreased superoxide anion and increased nitric oxide production compared to the individual treatments in aorta from diabetic rats. Overall, these data demonstrated a synergistic effect, in which, a combination (P+Q; 10–7 M each drug) caused a significantly greater effect than 10–6 M of either agent in improving endothelial function of isolated diabetic aorta. In conclusion, a combination of subliminal concentrations of pioglitazone and quercetin is able to decrease oxidative stress and provide synergistic vascular protection in type 2 diabetes mellitus and thus the possibility of using quercetin as a supplement to pioglitazone in the treatment of diabetes with the goal of reducing pioglitazone toxicity.

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