Epidemiological studies have found that diabetes and cognitive dysfunction are closely related. Quercetin has been certified with the effect on improving diabetes mellitus (DM) and cognitive impairment. However, the effect and related mechanism of quercetin on diabetic encephalopathy (DE) are still ambiguous. In this study, we used the db/db mice (diabetic model) to discover whether quercetin could improve DE through the Sirtuin1/NLRP3 (NOD-, LRR- and pyrin domain-containing 3) pathway. Behavioural results (Morris water maze and new object recognition tests) showed that quercetin (70 mg/kg) improved the learning and memory. Furthermore, quercetin alleviated insulin resistance and the level of fasting blood glucose. Besides, Western blot analysis also showed that quercetin increased the protein expressions of nerve- and synapse-related protein, including postsynapticdensity 93 (PSD93), postsynapticdensity 95 (PSD95), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain of db/db mice. Quercetin also increased the protein expression of SIRT1 and decreased the expression of NLRP3 inflammation-related proteins, including NLRP3, the adaptor protein ASC and cleaved Caspase-1, the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18. In conclusion, the present results indicate that the SIRT1/NLRP3 pathway may be a crucial mechanism for the neuroprotective effect of quercetin against DE.
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.