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Nitric Oxide. 2009 Sep;21(2):77-91. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 Jun 2.

Modulation of endothelial nitric oxide by plant-derived products.

Author information

1
University of Vienna, Department of Pharmacognosy, Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria. c.schmitt@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Nitric oxide (NO), produced by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), is recognised as a central anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic principle in the vasculature. Decreased availability of NO in the vasculature promotes the progression of cardiovascular diseases. Epidemiological and clinical studies have demonstrated that a growing list of natural products, as components of the daily diet or phytomedical preparations, may improve vascular function by enhancing NO bioavailability. In this article we first outline common pathways modulating endothelial NO production or bioavailability to provide a basis for subsequent mechanistic discussions. Then we comprehensively review natural products and plant extracts known to positively influence eNOS activity and/or endothelial function in vitro or in vivo. We will discuss red wine, highlighting polyphenols, oligomeric procyanidins (OPC) and resveratrol as modulators of endothelial NO production. Other dietary products and their active components known to activate eNOS include cocoa (OPC and its monomer (-)-epicatechin), pomegranates (polyphenols), black and green tea (flavanoids, especially epigallocatechin gallate), olive oil (oleic acid and polyphenols), soy (genistein), and quercetin, one of the most abundant flavonoids in plants. In addition, phytomedical preparations made from ginkgo, hawthorn and ginseng, as well as formulations used in traditional Chinese Medicine, have been shown to affect endothelial NO production. Recurring phytochemical patterns among active fractions and purified compounds are discussed. In summary, there is increasing evidence that several single natural products and plant extracts influence endothelial NO production. Identification of such compounds and characterisation of their cellular actions may increase our knowledge of the regulation of endothelial NO production and could provide valuable clues for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

PMID:
19497380
DOI:
10.1016/j.niox.2009.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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