Action mechanism and cardiovascular effect of anthocyanins: a systematic review of animal and human studies

J Transl Med. 2016 Nov 15;14(1):315. doi: 10.1186/s12967-016-1076-5.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are an important cause of death worldwide. Anthocyanins are a subgroup of flavonoids found in berries, flowers, fruits and leaves. In epidemiological and clinical studies, these polyphenols have been associated with improved cardiovascular risk profiles as well as decreased comorbidities. Human intervention studies using berries, vegetables, parts of plants and cereals (either fresh or as juice) or purified anthocyanin-rich extracts have demonstrated significant improvements in low density lipoproteins oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, and dyslipidemia as well as reduced levels of CVD molecular biomarkers. This review discusses the use of anthocyanins in animal models and their applications in human medicine, as dietary supplements or as new potent drugs against cardiovascular disease.

Keywords: Animal models; Anthocyanins; Cardiovascular disease; Human study; Oxidative stress; Polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / chemistry
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects*
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers