(-)-Epicatechin reduces blood pressure increase in high-fructose-fed rats: Effects on the determinants of nitric oxide bioavailability

Maria C. Litterio, Marcela A. Vazquez Prieto, Ana M. Adamo, Rosana Elesgaray, Patricia I. Oteiza, Monica Galleano, Cesar G. Fraga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This work investigated the blood pressure (BP)-lowering effect of the flavanol (-)-epicatechin in a model of metabolic syndrome. Rats were fed a regular chow diet without (Control) or with 10% (w/v) fructose in the drinking water (high fructose, HF) for 8 weeks. A subgroup of the HF-fed rats was supplemented with (-)-epicatechin 20 mg/kg body weight (HF-EC). Dietary (-)-epicatechin reverted the increase in BP caused by the fructose treatment. In aorta, superoxide anion production and the expression of the NADPH oxidase (NOX) subunits p47phox and p22phox were enhanced in the HF-fed rats. The increase was prevented by (-)-epicatechin. Similar profile was observed for NOX4 expression. The activity of aorta nitric oxide synthase (NOS) was increased in the HF group and was even higher in the HF-EC rats. These effects were paralleled by increased endothelial NOS phosphorylation at the activation site Ser1177. Among the more relevant mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways in vascular tissue, c-Jun-N-terminal kinase was shown to be activated in the aorta of the HF-fed rats, and (-)-epicatechin supplementation mitigated this activation. Thus, the results suggest that dietary (-)-epicatechin supplementation prevented hypertension in HF-fed rats, decreasing superoxide anion production and elevating NOS activity, favoring an increase in NO bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-751
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015


  • Flavonoids
  • Fructose
  • Hypertension
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Oxidants
  • Superoxide anion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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