Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods and beverages is thought to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Whereas the biological activities of flavonoids have been characterized in vitro, there are no clear experimental data demonstrating that chronic dietary intake and intestinal absorption of flavonoids actually protects the heart against ischemia-reperfusion injury. We tested whether long-term consumption of specific flavonoids (anthocyanins) included in normal food could render the heart of rats more resistant to myocardial infarction. Maize kernels that differed specifically in their accumulation of anthocyanins were used to prepare rodent food in which anthocyanins were either present or absent. Male Wistar rats were fed the anthocyanin-rich (ACN-rich) or the anthocyanin-free (ACN-free) diet for a period of 8 wk. Anthocyanins were significantly absorbed and detected in the blood and urine of only rats fed the ACN-rich diet. In Langendorff preparations, the hearts of rats fed the ACN-rich diet were more resistant to regional ischemia and reperfusion insult. Moreover, on an in vivo model of coronary occlusion and reperfusion, infarct size was reduced in rats that ate the ACN-rich diet than in those that consumed the ACN-free diet (P <0.01). Cardioprotection was associated with increased myocardial glutathione levels, suggesting that dietary anthocyanins might modulate cardiac antioxidant defenses. Our findings suggest important potential health benefits of foods rich in anthocyanins and emphasize the need to develop anthocyanin-rich functional foods with protective activities for promoting human health.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Nutrition|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Food Science