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Free Radic Biol Med. 2002 Dec 15;33(12):1693-702.

Uptake and metabolism of epicatechin and its access to the brain after oral ingestion.

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Antioxidant Research Group, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, GKT School of Biomedical Sciences, King's College, London, England, UK.


Epicatechin is a flavan-3-ol that is commonly present in green teas, red wine, cocoa products, and many fruits, such as apples. There is considerable interest in the bioavailability of epicatechin after oral ingestion. In vivo studies have shown that low levels of epicatechin are absorbed and found in the circulation as glucuronides, methylated and sulfated forms. Recent research has demonstrated protective effects of epicatechin and one of its in vivo metabolites, 3'-O-methyl epicatechin, against neuronal cell death induced by oxidative stress. Thus, we are interested in the ability of ingested epicatechin to cross the blood brain barrier and target the brain. Rats were administered 100 mg/kg body weight/d epicatechin orally for 1, 5, and 10 d. Plasma and brain extracts were analyzed by HPLC with photodiode array detection and LC-MS/MS. This study reports the presence of the epicatechin glucuronide and 3'-O-methyl epicatechin glucuronide formed after oral ingestion in the rat brain tissue.

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