Flavonoids protect LDL from oxidation and attenuate atherosclerosis

Curr Opin Lipidol. 2001 Feb;12(1):41-8. doi: 10.1097/00041433-200102000-00008.


Consumption of some plant-derived flavonoids results in their absorption and appearance in plasma and tissues. The inverse relationship between dietary flavonoids consumption and cardiovascular diseases may be associated with the ability of flavonoids to attenuate LDL oxidation, macrophage foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. The effect of flavonoids on arterial cell-mediated oxidation of LDL is determined by their accumulation in the lipoprotein and in arterial cells, such as macrophages. Flavonoids can reduce LDL lipid peroxidation by scavenging reactive oxygen/nitrogen species, chelation of transition metal ions and sparing of LDL-associated antioxidants. They can also reduce macrophage oxidative stress by inhibition of cellular oxygenases [such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, reduced form (NADPH) oxidase] or by activating cellular antioxidants (such as the glutathione system). Thus, plant flavonoids, as potent natural antioxidants that protect against lipid peroxidation in arterial cells and lipoproteins, significantly attenuate the development of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plants, Edible


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Lipoproteins, LDL