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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25982. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025982. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Proanthocyanidins modulate microRNA expression in human HepG2 cells.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain.


Mi(cro)RNAs are small non-coding RNAs of 18-25 nucleotides in length that modulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. These RNAs have been shown to be involved in a several biological processes, human diseases and metabolic disorders. Proanthocyanidins, which are the most abundant polyphenol class in the human diet, have positive health effects on a variety of metabolic disorders such as inflammation, obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance. The present study aimed to evaluate whether proanthocyanidin-rich natural extracts modulate miRNA expression. Using microarray analysis and Q-PCR, we investigated miRNA expression in HepG2 cells treated with proanthocyanidins. Our results showed that when HepG2 cells were treated with grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE), cocoa proanthocyanidin extract (CPE) or pure epigallocatechin gallate isolated from green tea (EGCG), fifteen, six and five differentially expressed miRNAs, respectively, were identified out of 904 mRNAs. Specifically, miR-30b* was downregulated by the three treatments, and treatment with GSPE or CPE upregulated miR-1224-3p, miR-197 and miR-532-3p. Therefore, these results provide evidence of the capacity of dietary proanthocyanidins to influence microRNA expression, suggesting a new mechanism of action of proanthocyanidins.

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