Protective effect of the phenolic fraction from virgin olive oils against oxidative stress in human cells

J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Oct 23;50(22):6521-6. doi: 10.1021/jf020565+.


This paper reports the protective effect of the phenolic fraction extracted from extra virgin olive oils (OOPEs) against the cytotoxic effects of reactive oxygen species in human erythrocytes and Caco-2 cells, employed as model systems. Pretreatment of cells with various OOPEs, indeed, provides a remarkable protection against oxidative damages: this effect was strictly dependent on the o-diphenolic content of the extracts. Moreover, the protective effects observable in cellular systems were compared with in vitro antioxidant properties, measured by using the FRAP (ferric reducing/antioxidant power) assay; the reducing ability of OOPEs strictly parallels their o-phenolic content. The linear relationship demonstrated between biological effects and antioxidant capacity measured by the FRAP assay allows us to propose the use of this rapid colorimetric method in assessing and certifying the antioxidant power of extra virgin olive oil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Erythrocytes
  • Humans
  • Olive Oil
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Olive Oil
  • Phenols
  • Plant Oils
  • Reactive Oxygen Species