The antioxidative and cardioprotective properties of quercetin were investigated against sodium fluoride (NaF) induced oxidative stress in rat hearts. Experimental rats were divided into five groups. The first group served as the untreated (normal) control. The second group received NaF at a dose of 600 ppm through drinking water for 1 week, and served as the toxin control. The third and fourth groups were exposed to quercetin (at the dose of 10 and 20 mg kg−1 intraperitoneally (i.p.) for 1 week) prior to NaF intoxication, and the fifth group was treated with vitamin C at a dose of 10 mg kg−1 i.p., for 1 week prior to NaF intoxication and served as the positive control in the study. The activities of various antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase and catalase, level of reduced glutathione and lipid peroxidation end product were determined in the cardiac tissues of all the experimental animals. NaF intoxication significantly altered all the indices related to the pro-oxidant–antioxidant status of the heart; treatment with the active constituents prior to NaF administration, however, prevented these alterations. The combined results suggest that quercetin protects rat hearts from NaF-induced oxidative stress, probably via its antioxidant properties.
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