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Volume 11, Pages 2348-2357
Research Article

Quercetin Protects Primary Human Osteoblasts Exposed to Cigarette Smoke through Activation of the Antioxidative Enzymes HO-1 and SOD-1

1Department of Traumatology, MRI, Techincal University of Munich, 80333 Munich, Germany
2Department of Traumatology, University of Tübingen, Schnarrenbergstrße 95, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
3Department of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, Techincal University of Munich, 80333 Munich, Germany
4FONDAP Center for Genome Regulation, Faculty of sciences, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

Received 29 August 2011; Accepted 12 October 2011

Academic Editors: N. Chattopadhyay and D. Nieman

Copyright © 2011 Karl F. Braun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Smokers frequently suffer from impaired fracture healing often due to poor bone quality and stability. Cigarette smoking harms bone cells and their homeostasis by increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The aim of this study was to investigate whether Quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, can protect osteoblasts from the toxic effects of smoking. Human osteoblasts exposed to cigarette smoke medium (CSM) rapidly produced ROS and their viability decreased concentration- and time-dependently. Co-, pre- and postincubation with Quercetin dose-dependently improved their viability. Quercetin increased the expression of the anti-oxidative enzymes heme-oxygenase- (HO-) 1 and superoxide-dismutase- (SOD-) 1. Inhibiting HO-1 activity abolished the protective effect of Quercetin. Our results demonstrate that CSM damages human osteoblasts by accumulation of ROS. Quercetin can diminish this damage by scavenging the radicals and by upregulating the expression of HO-1 and SOD-1. Thus, a dietary supplementation with Quercetin could improve bone matter, stability and even fracture healing in smokers.