PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Chemistry - Pharmacology - Respiratory Medicine

Pleiotropic Benefit of Monomeric and Oligomeric Flavanols on Vascular Health - A Randomized Controlled Clinical Pilot Study
Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011
Author: Antje R. Weseler et al.

by Antje R. Weseler, Erik J. B. Ruijters, Marie-José Drittij-Reijnders, Koen D. Reesink, Guido R. M. M. Haenen, Aalt Bast


Cardiovascular diseases are expanding to a major social-economic burden in the Western World and undermine man's deep desire for healthy ageing. Epidemiological studies suggest that flavanol-rich foods (e.g. grapes, wine, chocolate) sustain cardiovascular health. For an evidenced-based application, however, sound clinical data on their efficacy are strongly demanded.


In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled intervention study we supplemented 28 male smokers with 200 mg per day of monomeric and oligomeric flavanols (MOF) from grape seeds. At baseline, after 4 and 8 weeks we measured macro- and microvascular function and a cluster of systemic biomarkers for major pathological processes occurring in the vasculature: disturbances in lipid metabolism and cellular redox balance, and activation of inflammatory cells and platelets.


In the MOF group serum total cholesterol and LDL decreased significantly (P=0.05) by 5% (n?=?11) and 7% (n?=?9), respectively in volunteers with elevated baseline levels. Additionally, after 8 weeks the ratio of glutathione to glutathione disulphide in erythrocytes rose from baseline by 22% (n?=?15, P<0.05) in MOF supplemented subjects. We also observed that MOF supplementation exerts anti-inflammatory effects in blood towards ex vivo added bacterial endotoxin and significantly reduces expression of inflammatory genes in leukocytes. Conversely, alterations in macro- and microvascular function, platelet aggregation, plasma levels of nitric oxide surrogates, endothelin-1, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, prostaglandin F2alpha, plasma antioxidant capacity and gene expression levels of antioxidant defense enzymes did not reach statistical significance after 8 weeks MOF supplementation. However, integrating all measured effects into a global, so-called vascular health index revealed a significant improvement of overall vascular health by MOF compared to placebo (P=0.05).


Our integrative multi-biomarker approach unveiled the pleiotropic vascular health benefit of an 8 weeks supplementation with 200 mg/d MOF in humans.

Trial Registration NCT00742287