Free radical research

Myeloperoxidase-mediated LDL oxidation and endothelial cell toxicity of oxidized LDL: attenuation by (-)-epicatechin.

PMID 17015252


Recent data suggest an inverse epidemiological association between intake of flavanol-rich cocoa products and cardiac mortality. Potential beneficial effect of cocoa may be attributed to flavanol-mediated improvement of endothelial function, as well as to enhancement of bioavailability and bioactivity of nitric oxide in vivo. ( - )-Epicatechin is one bioactive flavanol found in cocoa. This review deals with protective actions of ( - )-epicatechin on two key processes in atherogenesis, oxidation of LDL and damage to endothelial cell by oxidized LDL (oxLDL), with emphasis on data from this laboratory. ( - )-Epicatechin not only abrogates or attenuates LDL oxidation but also counteracts deleterious actions of oxLDL on vascular endothelial cells. These protective actions are only partially shared by other vasoprotective agents such as vitamins C and E or aspirin. Thus, ( - )-epicatechin appears to be a pleiotropic protectant for both LDL and endothelial cells.