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Food Funct. 2011 Sep;2(9):562-8. doi: 10.1039/c1fo10083a. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Distribution of procyanidins and their metabolites in rat plasma and tissues after an acute intake of hazelnut extract.

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Department of Food Technology, XaRTA-UTPV, Escola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeria Agrària, Universitat de Lleida, Avda/Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, 25198 Lleida, Spain.


Procyanidins are present in a wide range of dietary foods and their metabolism is well known. Nevertheless, the biological target and their distribution are topics lacking information. The purpose of the present work was to study the metabolism and distribution of procyanidins and their metabolites in rat plasma and different tissues, such as liver, brain, lung, kidney, intestine, testicle, spleen, heart and thymus, after 2 h of an acute intake of hazelnut extract rich in procyanidins (5 g kg(-1) of rat body weight). The interest of an acute intake of procyanidins instead of repeated low doses from daily ingestion of is to achieve a concentration of metabolites in the tissues that allows their detection and quantification. The results showed that catechin and epicatechin-glucuronide, methyl catechin and epicatechin-glucuronide and methyl catechin and epicatechin-sulphate were detected in plasma samples at the μmol level. On the other hand, catechin-glucuronide, methyl catechin-glucuronide and methyl catechin-sulphate were identified in some tissues, such as thymus, intestine, lung, kidney, spleen and testicle at the nmol level. Procyanidins with a low grade of polymerization (dimers and trimers) were detected in plasma samples and the intestine. Additionally, a wide range of simple aromatic acids from fermentation by the colonic microflora was detected in all tissues studied.

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