Molecular mechanisms of cardioprotection by a novel grape seed proanthocyanidin extract

Mutat Res. 2003 Feb-Mar:523-524:87-97. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(02)00324-x.


Free radicals and oxidative stress play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of a broad spectrum of cardiovascular diseases including congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, hypertrophy, atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease. We have demonstrated that IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) provides superior antioxidant efficacy as compared to Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. A series of studies were conducted using GSPE to demonstrate its cardioprotective ability in animals and humans. GSPE supplementation improved cardiac functional assessment including post-ischemic left ventricular function, reduced myocardial infarct size, reduced ventricular fibrillation (VF) and tachycardia, decreased the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as detected by ESR spectroscopy and reduced malondialdehyde (MDA) formation in the heart perfusate. Cardiomyocyte apoptosis detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. In concert, the proapoptotic signals mediated by JNK-l and c-fos proteins were also reduced suggesting that the novel cardioprotective properties of GSPE may be at least partially attributed to its ability to block anti-death signaling mediated through the proapoptotic transcription factors and genes such as JNK-1 and c-JUN. In a separate study, GSPE pretreatment significantly inhibited doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity as demonstrated by reduced serum creatine kinase (CK) activity, DNA damage and histopathological changes in the cardiac tissue of mice. Concentration-dependent efficacy of GSPE was also assessed in a hamster atherosclerosis model. Approximately 49 and 63% reduction in foam cells, a biomarker of early stage atherosclerosis, were observed following supplementation of 50 and 100 mg GSPE/kg body weight, respectively. A human clinical trial was conducted on hypercholesterolemic subjects. GSPE supplementation significantly reduced oxidized LDL, a biomarker of cardiovascular diseases. Finally, a cDNA microarray study demonstrated significant inhibition of inducible endothelial CD36 expression, a novel cardioregulatory gene, by GSPE. These results demonstrate that GSPE may serve as a potential therapeutic tool in promoting cardiovascular health via a number of novel mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / isolation & purification*
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Cardiotonic Agents / chemistry
  • Cardiotonic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Doxorubicin / toxicity
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proanthocyanidins*
  • Seeds*
  • Vitis*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • proanthocyanidin
  • Doxorubicin