Cacao Polyphenols Potentiate Anti-Platelet Effect of Endothelial Cells and Ameliorate Hypercoagulatory States Associated with Hypercholesterolemia

J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2017 Apr;17(4):2817-823. doi: 10.1166/jnn.2017.13317.


Platelets are related to the formation of blood clots that play a crucial role in thrombosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Cocoa, derived from Theobroma cocoa, has been widely used as functional food for improving cardiovascular health. In the present study, the direct and indirect effects of cacao polyphenols (CPs) were investigated on human platelet aggregation associated with endothelial cells (ECs) senescence. In addition, the effect of CPs on high-fat diet- (HFD-) induced hypercoagulatory states in rats was evaluated. CPs directly inhibited the human platelet aggregation induced by thromboxane analogue, U46619, and treatment of CPs on senescent endothelial cells markedly restored inhibitory effect of ECs on platelet aggregation. Nitric oxide (NO) from ECs is known as modulator of platelet aggregation and CPs increased eNOS activity in ECs and coronary artery. In animal model, increased TG level induced by high fat diet (HFD) was significantly decreased by CPs administration. In addition, the HFD animal had shorter bleeding time, and CPs administration attenuated the HFD-induced changes. Taken together, the present study indicates that CPs have potent anti-platelet effects most likely by direct and indirect effect via ECs and have the potential for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease-related hypercoagulation due to hypercholesterolemia.

Keywords: Cacao polyphenols; Platelet Aggregation; Nitric Oxide; Hypercholesterolemia; Cardiovascular Diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coronary Vessels / cytology
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Swine


  • Plant Extracts
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Polyphenols
  • Nitric Oxide