Atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, is characterized by impaired endothelial function and lipid metabolism, among other factors. Ellagitannins are a class of phenolic compounds that may play a role in cardiovascular health. This work aimed to study the potential atheroprotective effects of urolithins, ellagitannin-derived gut microbiota metabolites, on different key factors in atherosclerosis development: the ability of monocytes to adhere to endothelial cells and the uptake and efflux of cholesterol by macrophages. The biotransformations urolithins undergo in peripheral cells were also evaluated. Results indicated that some urolithins and ellagic acid were able to reduce the adhesion of THP-1 monocytes to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and the secretion of a cellular adhesion molecule (sVCAM-1) and pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-6). Urolithin C, a combination of urolithins A and B, and ellagic acid also decreased the accumulation of cholesterol in THP-1-derived macrophages, but they were not able to promote cholesterol efflux. The analysis of cell media by UHPLC-ESI-MSn indicated urolithins and ellagic underwent extensive metabolism, with sulfate and methyl conjugation. This evidence indicates that atherosclerotic processes may be attenuated by urolithins, but future human intervention trials are required to establish if is translated in vivo.
Antiatherogenic effects of ellagic acid and urolithins in vitro / Mele, Laura; Mena Parreno, Pedro Miguel; Piemontese, Antonio; Marino, Valentina; López Gutiérrez, Noelia; Bernini, Franco; Brighenti, Furio; Zanotti, Ilaria; Del Rio, Daniele. - In: ARCHIVES OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND BIOPHYSICS. - ISSN 0003-9861. - 599:(2016), pp. 42-50. [10.1016/j.abb.2016.02.017]