Interactions of flavan-3-ols and procyanidins with membranes: mechanisms and the physiological relevance
Flavonoids are a type of phenolic compound widely present in edible plants. A great number of health benefits have been ascribed to flavonoid consumption in the human population. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in such effects remain to be identified. The flavan-3-ols (−)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin, and their related oligomers (procyanidins) have been thoroughly studied because of their capacity to interact with cell membranes. Starting with these interactions, procyanidins could modulate multiple biochemical processes, such as enzyme activities, receptor-ligand binding, membrane-initiated cell signaling, and molecule transport across membranes. This review focuses on molecular aspects of procyanidin interactions with membrane lipid components, and the resulting protection of the membranes against mechanical and/or oxidative damage, resulting in the maintenance of cell functions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: VI International Conference on Polyphenols and Health