Cardioprotective and hepatoprotective effects of ellagitannins from European oak bark (Quercus petraea L.) extract in rats

Eur J Nutr. 2013 Feb;52(1):397-408. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0277-1. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Background: Red wine contains many potentially bioactive polyphenols including resveratrol, catechins, anthocyanins and flavonoids as well as tannins derived from oak during maturation. This study examined the effects of a mixture of ellagitannins from oak bark (Quercus petraea L.) on cardiovascular, metabolic and liver changes in high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats and in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR).

Methods: First, 8-week-old male Wistar rats were divided into four groups and given either cornstarch diet, cornstarch diet + oak bark extract (0.5 mL/kg food), high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet or high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet + oak bark extract (0.5 mL/kg food) for 16 weeks. Oak bark extract was added to the diets for last 8 weeks of the feeding period. Secondly, SHR aged 42 weeks fed on standard chow diet were divided into two groups with and without oak bark extract treatment for 12 weeks (0.5 mL/kg food).

Results: The high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet induced signs of metabolic syndrome along with cardiovascular remodelling and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Oak bark extract attenuated the signs of metabolic syndrome in high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats and improved the structure and function of the heart and the liver. SHR after oak bark extract treatment for 12 weeks showed lower systolic blood pressure, lower cardiac fibrosis and cardiac stiffness and improved vascular reactivity.

Conclusions: Oak bark extract containing ellagitannins improved cardiovascular, metabolic and liver parameters in these rat models of human disease, suggesting that part of the benefits attributed to red wine may be produced by these ellagitannins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Liver / chemically induced
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / physiology
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins / pharmacology*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology
  • Quercus / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols