Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

A novel anti-atherosclerotic mechanism of quercetin: Competitive binding to KEAP1 via Arg483 to inhibit macrophage pyroptosis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen WhiteORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2022 The AuthorsNatural antioxidants represented by quercetin have been documented to be effective against atherosclerosis. However, the related mechanisms remain largely unclear. In this study, we identified a novel anti-atherosclerotic mechanism of quercetin inhibiting macrophage pyroptosis by activating NRF2 through binding to the Arg483 site of KEAP1 competitively. In ApoE−/− mice fed with high fat diet, quercetin administration attenuated atherosclerosis progression by reducing oxidative stress level and suppressing macrophage pyroptosis. At the cellular level, quercetin suppressed THP-1 macrophage pyroptosis induced by ox-LDL, demonstrated by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and reducing ROS level, while these effects were reversed by the specific NRF2 inhibitor (ML385). Mechanistically, quercetin promoted NRF2 to dissociate from KEAP1, enhanced NRF2 nuclear translocation as well as transcription of downstream antioxidant protein. Molecular docking results suggested that quercetin could bind with KEAP1 at Arg415 and Arg483. In order to verify the binding sites, KEAP1 mutated at Arg415 and Arg483 to Ser (R415S and R483S) was transfected into THP-1 macrophages, and the anti-pyroptotic effect of quercetin was abrogated by Arg483 mutation, but not Arg415 mutation. Furthermore, after administration of adeno associated viral vector (AAV) with AAV-KEAP1-R483S, the anti-atherosclerotic effects of quercetin were almost abolished in ApoE−/− mice. These findings proved quercetins suppressed macrophage pyroptosis by targeting KEAP1/NRF2 interaction, and provided reliable data on the underlying mechanism of natural antioxidants to protect against atherosclerosis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Luo X, Weng X, Bao X, Bai X, Lv Y, Zhang S, Chen Y, Zhao C, Zeng M, Huang J, Xu B, Johnson TW, White SJ, Li J, Jia H, Yu B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Redox Biology

Year: 2022

Volume: 57

Print publication date: 01/11/2022

Online publication date: 14/10/2022

Acceptance date: 13/10/2022

Date deposited: 07/11/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2213-2317

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.redox.2022.102511

PubMed id: 36274522


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric