Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and in humans

Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Kaplan M, Coleman R, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hofman A, Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Hayek T, Fuhrman B.

Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine, Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, 31096. aviram@tx.technion.ac.il

The beneficial health effects attributed to the consumption of fruit and vegetables are related, at least in part, to their antioxidant activity. Of special interest is the inverse relationship between the intake of dietary nutrients rich in polyphenols and cardiovascular diseases. This effect is attributed to polyphenols' ability to inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, macrophage foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. Pomegranate polyphenols can protect LDL against cell-mediated oxidation via two pathways, including either direct interaction of the polyphenols with the lipoprotein and/or an indirect effect through accumulation of polyphenols in arterial macrophages. Pomegranate polyphenols were shown to reduce the capacity of macrophages to oxidatively modify LDL, due to their interaction with LDL to inhibit its oxidation by scavenging reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species and also due to accumulation of polyphenols in arterial macrophages; hence, the inhibition of macrophage lipid peroxidation and the formation of lipid peroxide-rich macrophages. Furthermore, pomegranate polyphenols increase serum paraoxonase activity, resulting in the hydrolysis of lipid peroxides in oxidized lipoproteins and in atherosclerotic lesions. These antioxidative and antiatherogenic effects of pomegranate polyphenols were demonstrated in vitro, as well as in vivo in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E deficient mice. Dietary supplementation of polyphenol-rich pomegranate juice to atherosclerotic mice significantly inhibited the development of atherosclerotic lesions and this may be attributed to the protection of LDL against oxidation.

PMID: 12224378 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]