Research performed in The Netherlands was presented this week at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine in Washington DC. For the study, the scientists used Masquelier's original OPCs from IBioCeuticals in the US. "The results of the first phase of the project are extremely promising, because they indicate that OPCs, at levels found in circulation after oral intake, are capable of protecting LDL from oxidation, and appear to be more effective protectors than vitamin E," said author Dr. Geetha Achanta, Anthogenol, the Vitis vinifera seed extract found in Masquelier's OPCs is a rich source of antioxidants including catechins and 2-5 flavan-3-ols. Achanta presented the results garnered from the study - entitled Oligomeric proanthocyanidins effectively inhibit LDL oxidation: a mechanistic study using a lipophilic oxidation-sensitive, fluorescent probe - at the annual meeting. The aim of the project, conducted at the Center for Cellular Architecture and Dynamics Department at the University of Utrecht, was to investigate how OPCs protect the vascual wall and potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular health complications. According to Achanta, in the previous year the team also found that OPCs can protect endothelial cells in the blood vessels from oxidative damage - thereby reducing the risk on endothelial dysfunction and vascular disorders. "Targeting ROS [reactive oxygen species] with dietary antioxidants is therefore an attractive approach for preventing atherosclerosis, and this approach is supported by epidemiological evidence correlating dietary antioxidant intake with lower risk of cardiovascular disease," indicate the authors in the poster presentation. As part of the study, human LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol was isolated and labeled with C11-biodipy, a fluorescent lipophyllic probe whose fluorescence shifts from red to green upon oxidation. The OPCs were then added to the control study and found to have an effect on LDL oxidation. The results revealed a likely mechanism by which the OPCs protect LDL from oxidation. This is by scavenging free radicals generated in both the water phase, as well as the lipid phase that causes oxidation of the lipid-rich LDL particles and triggers inflammation. Free radicals play a role in the onset of vascular inflammatory processes that can lead to deadly diseases such as angina and heart attacks. The researchers are calling for further investigation into OPCs' potential to ward off such conditions.
"In conclusion, the results reveal a plausible mechanism by which OPCs inhibit LDL oxidation, and provide a basis for further investigating the potential protective effects of OPCs in atherosclerosis," state the authors.