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Proteomics. 2007 Sep;7(18):3278-88.

The human peripheral blood mononuclear cell proteome responds to a dietary flaxseed-intervention and proteins identified suggest a protective effect in atherosclerosis.

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Department of Food and Nutrition, Molecular Nutrition Unit, Technical University of Munich, Freising, Germany.


Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of lignans that are converted to enterolactone by the intestinal microflora. Enterolactone has been suggested to be the prime active compound mediating atherosclerosis-protective effects that were shown for flaxseed. The effects of a 1-wk intervention with 0.4 g of flaxseed/kg body weight per day on enterolactone plasma levels in seven healthy men revealed that all participants (PAs) responded with enhanced enterolactone plasma levels. Proteome analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from donors before, during, and after the intervention showed that flaxseed consumption affected significantly the steady-state levels of 16 proteins of which four were altered in a similar manner when blood mononuclear cells were exposed ex vivo to enterolactone. Enhanced levels of peroxiredoxin and reduced levels of the long-chain fatty acid beta-oxidation multienzyme complex may be taken as indicators of a reduced oxidative stress whereas reduced levels of glycoprotein IIIa/II could indicate improved protection from thrombotic and inflammatory processes. In conclusion, the blood mononuclear cell proteome responds to dietary flaxseed intake with changes in a number of atherosclerosis-relevant proteins that may be taken as biomarkers of exposure and some of these changes observed can be attributed to the action of the lignan metabolite enterolactone.

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