The consumption of foodstuffs yielding circulating compounds able to maintain endothelial function by improving nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability can be considered as an effective strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention. This work assessed the in vitro effects of urolithin A, urolithin B, and urolithin B-glucuronide, ellagitannin-derived metabolites of colonic origin, on NO release and endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activation in primary human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). Urolithins were tested both individually at 15 μM and as a mixture of 5 μM each, at different time points. The biotransformation of these molecules in cell media due to cell metabolism was also evaluated by UHPLC-MSn . The mix of urolithins at 5 μM significantly increased nitrite/nitrate levels following 24 h of incubation, while single urolithins at 15 μM did not modify NO bioavailability. Both the mix of urolithins at 5 μM and urolithin B-glucuronide at 15 μM activated eNOS expression. All urolithins underwent metabolic reactions, but these were limited to conjugation with sulfate moieties. This study represents a step forward in the understanding of cardiovascular health benefits of ellagitannin-rich foodstuffs and backs the idea that peripheral cells may contribute to urolithin metabolism.
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