A study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine in Indianapolis (USA) has shown that the antioxidant capacity of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) could reduce the aging of blood vessels. This ability was associated with a decrease in the levels of a cell damage marker, suggesting that the compounds exert their anti-aging effect by protecting DNA.
The study found that OPCs delayed the onset of stress-induced senescence of cultured human endothelial cells exposed to rotenone (a chemical generating oxidative stress). In particular, OPCs decreased levels of DNA damage marker and DNA endpoint (gamma -H2AX), which has been observed to increase as cells age.
The aging of blood vessels is associated with endothelial dysfunction, with altered angiogenesis and an increase in atherosclerosis. In particular, atherosclerosis and its associated complications constitute the leading cause of death in the western world, with smokers, hypertensives and the elderly at a much higher risk.
It has been observed that the blood vessels of people in early stages of atherosclerosis or who have some risk of developing it show a greater number of aged endothelial cells compared to those of healthy people. Therefore OPCs could delay the aging of endothelial cells and this would lead to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, it must be taken into account that previous studies have also shown that OPCs can significantly reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol ( LDL ), which would further strengthen their role in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis..
Reference: A potential role for oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) in delaying senescence in human endothelial cells. Presentado en la 15th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine en Indianápolis, USA. Noviembre 19-23, 2008.