Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the major cause of death worldwide, especially in Western society. Flavonoids are a large group of polyphenolic compounds widely distributed in plants, present in a considerable amount in fruit and vegetable. Several epidemiological studies found an inverse association between flavonoids intake and mortality by CVD. The antioxidant effect of flavonoids was considered the main mechanism of action of flavonoids and other polyphenols. In recent years, the role of modulation of signaling pathways by direct interaction of flavonoids with multiple protein targets, namely kinases, has been increasingly recognized and involved in their cardiovascular protective effect. There are strong evidence, in in vitro and animal experimental models, that some flavonoids induce vasodilator effects, improve endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance, exert platelet antiaggregant and atheroprotective effects, and reduce blood pressure. Despite interacting with multiple targets, flavonoids are surprisingly safe. This article reviews the recent evidence about cardiovascular effects that support a beneficial role of flavonoids on CVD and the potential molecular targets involved.
Keywords: Flavonoids; atherosclerosis; endothelial function; hypertension; insulin resistance; myocardial ischemia; platelet aggregation; stroke..
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