Posted on Feb 12, 2010, 6 a.m.
Rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant, cranberry juice exerts beneficial effects on endothelial cells (cells that line blood vessels).
Previous studies have demonstrated that diets rich in antioxidants are associated with reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease, with the mechanism presumed to be modulation of endothelial function. Roger Corder, from Queen Mary University (United Kingdom), and colleagues assessed the effects of various flavonoids for their ability to synthesize the vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 (ET-1). The team found that the concentration of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) present in extracts of cranberry and cranberry juice determined the extent of inhibition of ET-1 synthesis. Further, the researchers found that procyanidin-rich extracts of cranberry juice produced changes in the morphology of endothelial cells that were independent of the compounds’ antioxidant activity.
Paul W. Caton, Mark R. Pothecary, Delphine M. Lees, Noorafza Q. Khan, Elizabeth G. Wood, Toshihiko Shoji, Tomomasa Kanda, Gurvinder Rull, Roger Corder. “Regulation of Vascular Endothelial Function by Procyanidin-Rich Foods and Beverages.” J. Agric. Food Chem., January 28, 2010; doi: 10.1021/jf9031876.