Background: In vitro evidence exists for the potential antioxidant benefits of procyanidin-rich extracts, but in vivo studies are scarce. We have evaluated the effects of selected procyanidin-rich extracts on oxidative stress in rats in condition of prolonged consumption of these compounds and also after single administration i.e. in postprandial conditions.
Methods: Rats were fed for 8 weeks with diets supplemented with either a grape seed extract (GE), a pine bark extract (PE), or a high-degree polymerized pine bark extract (HPE). An additional study was performed in order to assess the postprandial effect of these extracts on plasma antioxidant capacity. The ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) were determined in plasma. For lipid peroxidation study of heart tissue, homogenates were prepared and TBARS were measured after lipid peroxidation induced by FeSO4-ascorbate.
Results: After 8 weeks of dietary treatment, total antioxidant capacity in plasma was significantly higher in the GE and PE groups as compared with the other two groups. Plasma TBARS concentrations and heart susceptibility to peroxidation were not significantly different between the groups. In the postprandial state, by comparing plasma antioxidant capacity 2 hours after ingestion of the different procyanidin-rich extracts (500 mg/kg body weight), we observed that FRAP values were higher in the procyanidin-rich extracts groups as compared with the control group. Moreover, plasma FRAP concentration was significantly higher in the GE group as compared with the other groups.
Conclusion: The results of the present experiment constitute positive evidence for an in vivo antioxidant effect at the plasma level of procyanidin-containing plant extracts.