Theobroma cacao increases cells viability and reduces IL-6 and sVCAM-1 level in endothelial cells induced by plasma from preeclamptic patients

Pregnancy Hypertens. 2016 Jan;6(1):42-6. doi: 10.1016/j.preghy.2016.01.001. Epub 2016 Jan 14.


This study aims to investigate whether an ethanolic extract of Theobroma cacao bean is able to increase cell viability and decrease IL-6 and sVCAM-1 in endothelial cells induced by plasma from preeclamptic patients. Endothelial cells were obtained from human umbilical vascular endothelial cells. At confluency, endothelial cells were divided into six groups, which included control (untreated), endothelial cells exposed to plasma from normal pregnancy, endothelial cells exposed to 2% plasma from preeclamptic patients (PP), endothelial cells exposed to PP in the presence of ethanolic extract of T. cacao (PP+TC) at the following three doses: 25, 50, and 100 ppm. The analysis was performed in silico using the Hex 8.0, LigPlus and LigandScout 3.1 software. Analysis on IL-6 and sVCAM-1 levels were done by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We found that seven of them could bind to the protein NFκB (catechin, leucoanthocyanidin, niacin, phenylethylamine, theobromine, theophylline, and thiamin). This increase in IL-6 was significantly (P<0.05) attenuated by both the 50 and 100 ppm treatments of T. cacao extract. Plasma from PP significantly increased sVCAM-1 levels compared to untreated cells. This increase in sVCAM-1 was significantly attenuated by all doses of the extract. In conclusion, T. cacao extract prohibits the increase in IL-6 and sVCAM-1 in endothelial cells induced by plasma from preeclamptic patients. Therefore this may provide a herbal therapy for attenuating the endothelial dysfunction found in preeclampsia.

Keywords: Adhesion molecule; Endothelial; Pro-inflammatory; Viability.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • NF-kappa B / chemistry
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Seeds
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism*


  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1