Quercetin modulates keratoconus metabolism in vitro

Tina B. Mckay, Akhee Sarker-Nag, Desiree' Lyon, John M. Asara, Dimitrios Karamichos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Corneal scarring is the result of a disease, infection or injury. The resulting scars cause significant loss of vision or even blindness. To-date, the most successful treatment is corneal transplantation, but it does not come without side effects. One of the corneal dystrophies that are correlated with corneal scarring is keratoconus (KC). The onset of the disease is still unknown; however, altered cellular metabolism has been linked to promoting the fibrotic phenotype and therefore scarring. We have previously shown that human keratoconus cells (HKCs) have altered metabolic activity when compared to normal human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs). In our current study, we present evidence that quercetin, a natural flavonoid, is a strong candidate for regulating metabolic activity of both HCFs and HKCs in vitro and therefore a potential therapeutic to target the altered cellular metabolism characteristic of HKCs. Targeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics was performed on HCFs and HKCs with and without quercetin treatment in order to identify variations in metabolite flux. Overall, our study reveals a novel therapeutic target OF Quercetin on corneal stromal cell metabolism in both healthy and diseased states. Clearly, further studies are necessary in order to dissect the mechanism of action of quercetin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalCell Biochemistry and Function
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Cell metabolism
  • Cornea
  • Fibrosis
  • Keratoconus
  • Metabolomics
  • Quercetin
  • Urea cycle


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