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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 May;957:78-89.

Vasodilating procyanidins derived from grape seeds.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612-4799, USA.


We have shown in previous work that extracts of grape seeds (GSE) and skins, grape juice, and many red wines exhibit endothelium-dependent relaxing (EDR) activity in vitro. This EDR activity involves endothelial nitric oxide (NO) release and subsequent increase in cyclic GMP levels in the vascular smooth muscle cells. The NO/cyclic GMP pathway is known to be involved in many cardiovascular-protective roles. The current study focuses on the isolation and identification of EDR-active compounds (procyanidins) from GSE. Crushed Concord grape seeds were extracted with methanol and the extract was separated into seven fractions (A-G) on a Toyopearl TSK-HW-40 column. EDR-active fractions (D-G) were further separated into 25 individual compound peaks by HPLC, 16 of which were EDR active (threshold for relaxation ranged between less than 0.5 microg/mL and greater than 4 microg/mL). Procyanidin identification was accomplished by electrospray-ion trap mass spectrometry (ES-ITMS), MS/MS, and by tannase treatment and acid thiolysis, followed by HPLC and ES-ITMS of the products. Activity of isolated procyanidins tended to increase with degree of polymerization, epicatechin content, and with galloylation. These EDR-active compounds (many of which also possess antioxidant activity), individually or in the form of wines, juices, or nutritional supplements, may be useful in preventing or treating cardiovascular diseases.

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