Quercetin activates autophagy to protect rats ovarian granulosa cells from H2O2-induced aging and injury
Autophagy is closely related to the aging of various organ systems, including ovaries. Quercetin has a variety of biological activities, including potential regulation of autophagy. However, whether quercetin-regulated autophagy activity affects the process of ovarian aging and injury has not been clarified yet. This study explores whether quercetin can resist H2O2-induced aging and injury of granulosa cells by regulating autophagy and its related molecular mechanisms in vitro experiments. The cell viability, endocrine function, cell aging, and apoptosis were detected to evaluate the effects of quercetin and autophagy regulators like 3-methyladenine and rapamycin. The levels of autophagy markers Atg5, Atg12, Atg16L, Lc3B II/I, and Beclin1 were determined by Western blot to assess the effects of quercetin, 3-methyladenine and rapamycin on autophagy. Our results showed quercetin resisted H2O2-induced granulosa cell aging and injury by activating protective autophagy. The treatment of 3-methyladenine and rapamycin confirmed the protective function of autophagy in H2O2-induced granulosa cells. 3-methyladenine treatment inhibited the expression of autophagy markers Atg5, Atg12, Atg16L, Lc3B II/I, and Beclin1 and abolished the positive effects on cell viability, estradiol secretion, and cell apoptosis activated by quercetin. In conclusion, quercetin activates autophagy by upregulating the expression of autophagy-related proteins to resist H2O2-induced aging and injury, which is crucial for stabilizing the function of granulosa cells under oxidative injury conditions and delaying aging. This study may explain the protective effects of quercetin on ovarian aging and injury from the perspective of regulating autophagy.
Keywords: Aging; Autophagy; Granulosa cells; Ovary; Quercetin.