Cocoa procyanidins modulate transcriptional pathways linked to inflammation and metabolism in human dendritic cells†
Foods rich in polyphenols such as procyanidins (PC) have been proposed to have anti-inflammatory properties, and we have previously reported inhibition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory cytokine secretion in human dendritic cells (DCs) by PC derived from cocoa. To explore the mechanistic basis of this inhibition, here we conducted transcriptomic analysis on DCs cultured with either LPS or LPS combined with oligomeric cocoa PC. Procyanidins suppressed a number of genes encoding cytokines and chemokines such as CXCL1, but also genes involved in the cGMP pathway such as GUCY1A3 (encoding guanylate cyclase soluble subunit alpha-3). Upregulated genes were involved in diverse metabolic pathways, but notably two of the four most upregulated genes (NMB, encoding neuromedin B and ADCY3, encoding adenyl cyclase type 3) were involved in the cAMP signalling pathway. Gene-set enrichment analysis demonstrated that upregulated gene pathways were primarily involved in nutrient transport, carbohydrate metabolism and lysosome function, whereas down-regulated gene pathways involved cell cycle, signal transduction and gene transcription, as well as immune function. qPCR analysis verified differential expression of GUCY1A3, ADCY3, NMB as well as a number of other genes, and marked suppression of LPS-induced CXCL1 and IL-23 protein secretion was also observed. Thus, our results confirm a marked anti-inflammatory effect of PC in human DCs, which may be related mechanistically to second-messenger function and metabolic activity. Our results provide a foundation to further investigate metabolic pathways altered by PC during intestinal inflammation, and further encourage investigation of the health-promoting potential of PC-rich functional foods.