Background and aim: Altered glucose metabolism, oxidative stress, lipid levels and inflammatory markers are important risk factors in diabetes, cardiovascular, and many other diseases. Cocoa has been shown to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The aim of this study is twofold: to assess the effect of Cocoa on the lipid profile and peroxidation in addition to the inflammatory markers in type 2 diabetic patients, and to represent a virtual model of probable action mechanism of observed clinical effects of Cocoa consumption using in silico analysis and bioinformatics data.
Methods: One hundred subjects with type 2 diabetes were included in a randomized clinical control trial. Fifty treatment subjects received 10 grams cocoa powder and 10 grams milk powder dissolved in 250 ml of boiling water, and the other fifty control subjects received only 10 grams milk powder dissolved in 250 ml boiling water. Both groups were on the mentioned regimen twice daily for 6 weeks. Blood samples were obtained prior to Cocoa consumption and 6 weeks after intervention. Serum lipids and lipoproteins profile, malondialdehyde and inflammatory markers including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) were measured. For statistical analysis two independent and paired samples t-test and linear regression were used. Bioinformatics and virtual analysis were performed using string data base and Molegro virtual software.
Results: Cocoa consumption lowered blood cholesterol,triglyceride, LDL-cholesterol, and TNF-α, hs-CRP, IL-6 significantly (P < 0.01). The results showed that the levels of HDL-cholesterol decreased significantly (P < 0.05) but Cocoa inhibited lipid peroxidation in treatment group than control group (P < 0.0001). Virtual analysis showed that the most frequent Cocoa ingredients, (+)-Catechin and (-)-Epicatechin, can dock to the enzyme COX-2.
Conclusion: These data support the beneficial effect of Cocoa on the lipid peroxidation prevention and inflammatory markers in type 2 diabetic patients. Cocoa ingredients block the Cox-2 activation and reduce inflammatory prostanoids synthesis according to virtual analysis.