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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2014 Oct 1;559:68-74. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 May 2.

Molecular mechanisms involved in the cardiovascular and neuroprotective effects of anthocyanins.

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Department of Metabolism and Nutrition, Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Jose Antonio Novais 10, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid 28008, Spain. Electronic address:


Anthocyanins are the main group of natural hydrosoluble pigments in plants. They introduce colouring to foods, with colours ranging from blue to red and orange. Nowadays, their importance for the Food and Pharmaceutical industries is mainly based in the existing scientific work evidencing their beneficial effects on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and neurological conditions. Different mechanisms have been shown to be involved in those effects. The most consistent ones are related to their antihypertensive and endothelium protective activities, antiatherogenic activity and their interaction with the estrogenic receptor. In some of the existing work, studies on structure-activity relationship have been done, showing that modifications on the structure of anthocyanins, besides having an effect on their colours, have a clear incidence on their interaction with different steps in the principal pathways related to these diseases. Therefore, different colours might show different molecular mechanisms. However, in a normal diet most of these compounds are present simultaneously and, thus; they can act by different mechanisms but can rise to a common final action. Design of new food product or food supplements should take these potential synergies into consideration.


Anthocyanin; Cardiovascular; Molecular mechanisms; Neuroprotection

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