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Flavonoids protect LDL from oxidation and attenuate atherosclerosis

Fuhrman, Bianca; Aviram, Michael

Current Opinion in Lipidology: February 2001 - Volume 12 - Issue 1 - p 41-48
Review Article

Consumption of some plant-derived flavonoids results in their absorption and appearance in plasma and tissues. The inverse relationship between dietary flavonoids consumption and cardiovascular diseases may be associated with the ability of flavonoids to attenuate LDL oxidation, macrophage foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. The effect of flavonoids on arterial cell-mediated oxidation of LDL is determined by their accumulation in the lipoprotein and in arterial cells, such as macrophages. Flavonoids can reduce LDL lipid peroxidation by scavenging reactive oxygen/nitrogen species, chelation of transition metal ions and sparing of LDL-associated antioxidants. They can also reduce macrophage oxidative stress by inhibition of cellular oxygenases [such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, reduced form (NADPH) oxidase] or by activating cellular antioxidants (such as the glutathione system). Thus, plant flavonoids, as potent natural antioxidants that protect against lipid peroxidation in arterial cells and lipoproteins, significantly attenuate the development of atherosclerosis.

The Lipid Research Laboratory, Technion Faculty of Medicine, The Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences and Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel

Correspondence to Michael Aviram, The Lipid Research Laboratory, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, 31096.. Tel: +972 4 854 2970; fax: +972 4 854 2130; e-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.