Background: Increasing evidence shows that red wine consumption has cardioprotective effects. These effects have been attributed to the polyphenolic compounds in grapes.
Objective: We studied the effects of red grape seed proanthocyanidins on the recovery of postischemic function in isolated rat hearts.
Design: Two groups of rats were fed different doses of proanthocyanidin-rich extract for 3 wk and another group was untreated and served as controls. The animals were then anesthetized and the hearts were isolated and subjected to 30 min of ischemia followed by 2 h of reperfusion. Coronary effluents were collected during the third minute of reperfusion for measurement of oxygen free radicals by using electron spin resonance spectroscopy.
Results: In rats treated with 50 and 100 mg grape seed proanthocyanidins/kg, the incidence of reperfusion-induced ventricular fibrillation was reduced from its control value of 92% to 42% and 25%, respectively (P < 0.05 for both). The incidence of ventricular tachycardia showed the same pattern. In rats treated with 100 mg proanthocyanidins/kg, the recovery of coronary flow, aortic flow, and developed pressure after 60 min of reperfusion was improved by 32% +/- 8%, 98% +/- 8%, and 37% +/- 3%, respectively (P < 0.05 for all) compared with untreated control rats. Electron spin resonance studies indicated that proanthocyanidins significantly inhibited the formation of oxygen free radicals. In rats treated with 100 mg proanthocyanidins/kg, free radical intensity was reduced by 75% +/- 7% (P < 0.05) compared with the control rats.
Conclusion: Grape seed proanthocyanidins have cardioprotective effects against reperfusion-induced injury via their ability to reduce or remove, directly or indirectly, free radicals in myocardium that is reperfused after ischemia.