Juan Fernández-Larrea

Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (26)91.16 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The way specific procyanidins exert their anti-inflammatory effects is not fully understood. This study has investigated the capacity of different procyanidins to modulate lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in THP1 human monocytes and their effects on the redox regulated protein kinases activity: IkB kinase beta (IKKb) and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). LPS-triggered increase of ROS was prevented by cell pre-incubation with procyanidins. LPS induced ERK1/2 activation through phosphorylation, which was inhibited by all the compounds tested, the most active being epigallocatechin (EG), followed by epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and C1. Procyanidins inhibited IKKb activity in vitro. C1 and procyanidin extract (PE) exerted the maximal IKKb inhibition, followed by EGCG and dimer B1. Catechin exerted a slight but significant IKKb inhibition, in contrast to epicatechin, which was ineffective. In conclusion, procyanidins reduce the LPS-induced production of ROS and they exert their anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting ERK1/2 and IKKb activity.
    Free Radical Research 05/2011; 45(5):611-9. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic low-grade inflammation in obesity is characterized by macrophage accumulation in white adipose tissue (WAT) and abnormal cytokine production. We tested the hypothesis that grape-seed procyanidin extract (PE), with known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, would improve local and systemic inflammation in diet-induced obesity rats. First, we analyzed the preventive effects of procyanidins (30 mg/kg per day) on rats fed a 60% kcal fat diet for 19 weeks. Second, we induced cafeteria diet obesity for 13 weeks to investigate the corrective effects of two PE doses (25 and 50 mg/kg per day) for 10 and 30 days. In the preventive model, PE group had reduced not only body weight but also plasmatic systemic markers of inflammation tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and C-reactive protein (CRP). The PE preventive treatment significantly showed an increased adiponectin expression and decreased TNF-α, interleukin-6 and CRP expression in mesenteric WAT and muscle TNF-α. A reduced NF-κB activity in liver is also observed which can be related to low expression rates of hepatic inflammatory markers found in PE group. Finally, PE dietary supplementation is linked to a reduced expression of Emr1 (specific marker of macrophage F4/80), which suggests a reduced macrophage infiltration of WAT. In the corrective model, however, only the high dose of PE reduced CRP plasma levels in the short treatment without changes in plasmatic TNF-α. In conclusion, orally ingested PE helps preventing imbalanced obesity cytokine pattern, but its corrective effects need to be further investigated. The dietary regular intake of food or drinks containing procyanidins might help prevent low-grade inflammatory-related diseases.
    The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 04/2011; 22(4):380-7. · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Catechins and their polymers procyanidins are health-promoting flavonoids found in edible vegetables and fruits. They act as antioxidants by scavenging reactive oxygen species and by chelating the redox-active metals iron and copper. They also behave as signaling molecules, modulating multiple cell signalling pathways and gene expression, including that of antioxidant enzymes. This study aimed at determining whether catechins and procyanidins interact with the redox-inactive metal zinc and at assessing their effect on cellular zinc homeostasis. We found that a grape-seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) and the green tea flavonoid (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) bind zinc cations in solution with higher affinity than the zinc-specific chelator Zinquin, and dose-dependently prevent zinc-induced toxicity in the human hepatocarcinoma cell line HepG2, evaluated by the lactate dehydrogenase test. GSPE and EGCG hinder intracellular accumulation of total zinc, measured by atomic flame absorption spectrometry, concomitantly increasing the level of cytoplasmic labile zinc detectable by Zinquin fluorescence. Concurrently, GSPE and EGCG inhibit the expression, evaluated at the mRNA level by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, of zinc-binding metallothioneins and of plasma membrane zinc exporter ZnT1 (SLC30A1), while enhancing the expression of cellular zinc importers ZIP1 (SLC39A1) and ZIP4 (SLC39A4). GSPE and EGCG also produce all these effects when HepG2 cells are stimulated to import zinc by treatment with supplemental zinc or the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. We suggest that extracellular complexation of zinc cations and the elevation of cytoplasmic labile zinc may be relevant mechanisms underlying the modulation of diverse cell signaling and metabolic pathways by catechins and procyanidins.
    The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 02/2011; 22(2):153-63. · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Flavonoids are beneficial compounds against risk factors for metabolic syndrome, but their effects and the mechanisms on glucose homeostasis modulation are not well defined. In the present study, we first checked the efficacy of grapeseed procyanidin extract (GSPE) for stimulating glucose uptake in insulin-resistant 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Results show that when resistance is induced with chronic insulin treatment, GSPE maintain a higher stimulating capacity than insulin. In contrast, when dexamethasone is used as the resistance-inducing agent, GSPE is less effective. Next we evaluated how effective different GSPE treatments are at improving glucose metabolism in hyperinsulinemic animals (fed a cafeteria diet). GSPE reduced plasma insulin levels. The lower dose (25 mg GSPE/kg body weight per day) administered for 30 days improved the HOmeostasis Model Assessment-insulin resistance index. This was accompanied by down-regulation of Pparg2, Glut4 and Irs1 in mesenteric white adipose tissue. Similarly, a chronic GSPE treatment of insulin-resistant 3T3-L1 adipocytes down-regulated the mRNA levels of those adipocyte markers, although cells were still able to respond to the acute stimulation of glucose uptake. In summary, 25 mg/kg body weight per day of GSPE has a positive long-term effect on glucose homeostasis, and GSPE could be targeted at adipose tissue, where it might directly stimulate glucose uptake. This work also highlights the need to carefully consider the bioactive dose, since a higher dose does not necessarily correlate to a greater positive effect.
    The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 12/2009; 21(10):961-7. · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether proanthocyanidins can protect against dyslipidemia induced by a high-fat diet (HFD) and to address the mechanisms that underlie this hypolipidemic effect. Female Wistar rats were fed on a HFD for 13 weeks. They were divided into two groups, one of which was treated with a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (25 mg kg(-1) of body weight) for 10 days. Plasma and liver lipids were measured by colorimetric and gravimetric analysis. Liver, muscle and adipose tissue were used to study the expression of genes involved in the synthesis and oxidation of fatty acids and lipoprotein homeostasis by real-time RT-PCR. The administration of proanthocyanidins normalized plasma triglyceride and LDL-cholesterol (both parameters significantly increased with the HFD) but tended to decrease hypercholesterolemia and fatty liver. Gene expression analyses revealed that proanthocyanidins repressed both the expression of hepatic key regulators of lipogenesis and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) assembling such as SREBP1, MTP and DGAT2, all of which were overexpressed by the HFD. These findings indicate that natural proanthocyanidins improve dyslipidemia associated with HFDs, mainly by repressing lipogenesis and VLDL assembly in the liver, and support the idea that they are powerful agents for preventing and treating lipid altered metabolic states.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 08/2009; 33(9):1007-12. · 5.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Consumption of dietary flavonoids has been associated with reduced mortality and risk of cardiovascular disease, partially by reducing triglyceridemia. We have previously reported that a grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) reduces postprandial triglyceridemia in normolipidemic animals signaling through the orphan nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner (SHP) a target of the bile acid receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR). Our aim was to elucidate whether FXR mediates the hypotriglyceridemic effect of procyanidins. In FXR-driven luciferase expression assays GSPE dose-dependently enhanced FXR activity in the presence of chenodeoxycholic acid. GSPE gavage reduced triglyceridemia in wild type mice but not in FXR-null mice, revealing FXR as an essential mediator of the hypotriglyceridemic actions of procyanidins in vivo. In the liver, GSPE downregulated, in an FXR-dependent manner, the expression of the transcription factor steroid response element binding protein 1 (SREBP1) and several SREBP1 target genes involved in lipogenesis, and upregulated ApoA5 expression. Altogether, our results indicate that procyanidins lower triglyceridemia following the same pathway as bile acids: activation of FXR, transient upregulation of SHP expression and subsequent downregulation of SREBP1 expression. This study adds dietary procyanidins to the arsenal of FXR ligands with potential therapeutic use to combat hypertriglyceridemia, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
    Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 07/2009; 53(7):805-14. · 4.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Procyanidins are bioactive flavonoid compounds from fruits and vegetables that possess insulinomimetic properties, decreasing hyperglycaemia in streptozotocin-diabetic rats and stimulating glucose uptake in insulin-sensitive cell lines. Here we show that the oligomeric structures of a grape-seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) interact and induce the autophosphorylation of the insulin receptor in order to stimulate the uptake of glucose. However, their activation differs from insulin activation and results in differences in the downstream signaling. Oligomers of GSPE phosphorylate protein kinase B at Thr308 lower than insulin does, according to the lower insulin receptor activation by procyanidins. On the other hand, they phosphorylate Akt at Ser473 to the same extent as insulin. Moreover, we found that procyanidins phosphorylate p44/p42 and p38 MAPKs much more than insulin does. These results provide further insight into the molecular signaling mechanisms used by procyanidins, pointing to Akt and MAPK proteins as key points for GSPE-activated signaling pathways. Moreover, the differences between GSPE and insulin might help us to understand the wide range of biological effects that procyanidins have.
    The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 06/2009; 21(6):476-81. · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An off-line solid-phase extraction (SPE) and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated for determining procyanidins, catechin, epicatechin, dimer, and trimer in plasma samples. In the validation procedure of the analytical method, linearity, precision, accuracy, detection limits (LODs), quantification limits (LOQs), and the matrix effect were studied. Recoveries of the procyanidins were higher than 84%, except for the trimer, which was 65%. The LODs and LOQs were lower than 0.003 and 0.01 microM, respectively, for all the procyanidins studied, except for the trimers, which were 0.8 and 0.98 microM, respectively. This methodology was then applied for the analysis of rat plasma obtained 2h after ingestion of grape seed phenolic extract. Monomers (catechin and epicatechin), dimer and trimer in their native form were detected and quantified in plasma samples, and their concentration ranged from 0.85 to 8.55 microM. Moreover, several metabolites, such as catechin and epicatechin glucuronide, catechin and epicatechin methyl glucuronide, and catechin and epicatechin methyl-sulphate were identified. These conjugated forms were quantified, in reference to the respective unconjugated form, showing concentrations between 0.06 and 23.90 microM.
    Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences 05/2009; 877(11-12):1169-76. · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human and animal studies have demonstrated that procyanidin-rich diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis. Some beneficial effects have been attributed to the well-known antioxidant activity of procyanidins. This study investigated another potential corrective role of procyanidins in cholesterol flux and inflammation in macrophage-derived foam cells. RAW 264.7 macrophages were cultured with moderately oxidized LDL (oxLDL), minimally oxidized LDL (moxLDL), or LPS (0.5 microg/mL) and oxLDL (LPS + oxLDL) to induce foam cells. Then, cells were treated with procyanidins derived from grape seed (PE, 45 microg/mL) for the last 12 h of incubation with the different lipoproteins (25 microg/mL). After lipid extraction, it was determined that total and esterified cholesterol and triglyceride accumulations in foam cells were increased by lipoprotein treatment but reduced by PE incubation. To asses the effect of PE on gene expression, the relative mRNA levels of CD36, ABCA1, iNOS, COX-2, and IkappaBalpha were determined by RT-PCR. It was shown that PE reduced the oxLDL scavenger receptor expression (CD36) and enhanced ATP-binding cassette A1 (ABCA1) expression, a key regulator of macrophage cholesterol efflux. PE also down-regulated inflammatory-related genes such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and kappa beta inhibitor-alpha (IkappaBalpha) without modifying COX-2 expression. In conclusion, evidence is provided that procyanidins may attenuate the development of foam cell formation by reducing cholesterol accumulation and modulating the expression of key genes in cholesterol flux and inflammation.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 04/2009; 57(6):2588-94. · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The potential beneficial effects of flavonoids on human health have aroused considerable interest and were initially attributed to their antioxidant activities. Recent studies have speculated that as well as their antioxidant role, flavonoids can act by modulating cell signaling pathways and/or gene expression. In this respect, we have used streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats as an oxidative stress model to study whether grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) regulates copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD), an enzyme that defends against oxidative stress. The results indicate that the expression profile of Cu/Zn-SOD in diabetic rats was similar to the profile in nondiabetic rats. Nevertheless, the administration of GSPE increased Cu/Zn-SOD activity in both diabetic and nondiabetic rats. Therefore, to evaluate whether this increase in activity was dose-dependent, we also studied the effect of GSPE on Cu/Zn-SOD expression by using an in vitro model (Fao cell line hepatocytes). The cells were exposed to GSPE doses between 0 and 150 mg/L for 24 h, and the results showed that enzyme activity was enhanced only with 15 mg/L of GSPE. Therefore, we decided to explore whether this increase in Cu/Zn-SOD activity was due to direct interaction between some of the molecules in GSPE and the enzyme (in vitro experiments) and, if so, to analyze how this interaction occurs (in silico experiments). The results of these studies showed that direct interaction between some small- or medium-sized GSPE components and the enzyme is responsible for the increase in Cu/Zn-SOD activity.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 04/2009; 57(9):3934-42. · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between grape seed-derived procyanidin extract components and their bioactivity was explored. The monomeric and dimeric structures only acted as anti-inflammatory agents. Similarly, pure C1 trimer was highly effective on LPS-activated macrophages. To reproduce all of the bioactivities of the total extract, a fraction enriched with trimeric structures was needed. This trimeric-enriched fraction was divided into subfractions, the most bioactive of which contained two compounds with a molecular weight equal to a trimer (865) and a dimer-gallate (729), according to spectrometric analysis. Thus, it may be concluded that a mixture of both molecules reproduces the bioactivity in glucose metabolism (3T3-L1), lipid metabolism (HepG2) and macrophage functionality (RAW 264.6).
    Food Chemistry 01/2009; 116(1-DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.02.044):265-270. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypertriglyceridemia is an independent risk factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases, and we have previously reported that oral administration of a grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) drastically decreases plasma levels of triglycerides (TG) and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) in normolipidemic rats, with a concomitant induction in the hepatic expression of the nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner (NR0B2/SHP). Our objective in this study was to elucidate whether SHP is the mediator of the reduction of TG-rich ApoB-containing lipoproteins triggered by GSPE. We show that GSPE inhibited TG and ApoB secretion in human hepatocarcinoma HepG2 cells and had and hypotriglyceridemic effect in wild-type mouse. The TG-lowering action of GSPE was abolished in HepG2 cells transfected with a SHP-specific siRNA and in a SHP-null mouse. Moreover, in mouse liver, GSPE downregulated several lipogenic genes, including steroid response element binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c), and upregulated carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A (CPT-1A) and apolipoprotein A5 (ApoA5), in a SHP-dependent manner. In HepG2 cells GSPE also inhibited ApoB secretion, but in a SHP-independent manner. In conclusion, SHP is a key mediator of the hypotriglyceridemic response triggered by GSPE. This novel signaling pathway of procyanidins through SHP may be relevant to explain the health effects ascribed to the regular consumption of dietary flavonoids.
    Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 09/2008; 52(10):1172-81. · 4.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of procyanidin intake on the level of inflammatory mediators in rats fed a hyperlipidic diet, which are a model of low-grade inflammation as they show an altered cytokine production. Male Zucker Fa/fa rats were randomly grouped to receive a low-fat (LF) diet, a high-fat (HF) diet or a high-fat diet supplemented with procyanidins from grape seed (HFPE) (3.45 mg/kg feed) for 19 weeks and were then euthanized. We determined biochemical parameters, C-reactive protein (CRP) and IL-6 levels in plasma. Adipose tissue depots and body weight were also determined. We assessed CRP, IL-6, TNF-alpha and adiponectin gene expression in liver and white adipose tissue (WAT). As expected, rats fed the HF diet show an enhanced production of CRP. Our results demonstrate that the HFPE diet decreases rat plasma CRP levels but not IL-6 levels. The decrease in plasma CRP in HFPE rats is related to a down-regulation of CRP mRNA expression in the liver and mesenteric WAT. We have also shown a decrease in the expression of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha and IL-6 in the mesenteric WAT. In contrast, adiponectin mRNA is increased in this tissue due to the procyanidin treatment. As previously reported, CRP plasma levels correlate positively with its expression in the mesenteric WAT, suggesting that procyanidin extract (PE) modulates CRP at the synthesis level. CRP plasma levels also correlate positively with body weight. As expected, body weight is associated with the adiposity index. Also, TNF-alpha expression and IL-6 expression have a strong positive correlation. In contrast, the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine adiponectin correlates negatively with the expression of TNF-alpha and IL-6 in the mesenteric WAT. These results suggest a beneficial effect of PE on low-grade inflammatory diseases, which may be associated with the inhibition of the proinflammatory molecules CRP, IL-6 and TNF-alpha and the enhanced production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine adiponectin. These findings provide a strong impetus to explore the effects of dietary polyphenols in reducing obesity-related adipokine dysregulation to manage cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors.
    The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 08/2008; 20(3):210-8. · 4.55 Impact Factor
  • The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 04/2008; 19(4):275-275. · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the interactions between proteins and ligands is crucial for the pharmaceutical and functional food industries. The experimental structures of these protein/ligand complexes are usually obtained, under highly expert control, by time-consuming techniques such as X-ray crystallography or NMR. These techniques are therefore not suitable for routinely screening the possible interaction between one receptor and thousands of ligands. To overcome this limitation, computational algorithms (i.e. docking algorithms) have been developed that use the individual structures of the receptor and ligand to predict the structure of their complex. The present review, then, summarizes: (a) the fundamentals of the algorithms of the most commontly used docking programmes (with particular emphasis on their strengths and limitations); (b) how the results from different docking algorithms compare (i.e. which software gives the best predictions); and (c) the future perspectives and challenges for docking techniques.
    Current Pharmaceutical Analysis 01/2008; 4(1):1-19. · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Procyanidins are the most abundant polyphenols in red wine and are also found in cereals, fruits, chocolate and tea. They exert many beneficial health effects, especially on the cardiovascular system (Bagchi et al. in Mutat Res 523-524:87-97, 2003; Williams et al. in Free Radic Biol Med 36:838-849, 2004; Dell'Agli et al. in Cardiovasc Res 63(4):593-602, 2004; Del Bas et al. FASEB J 19:479-480, 2005). Here, we show that oral administration of a grape seed procyanidins extract (GSPE) to healthy rats results, 5 h after treatment, in a 70% inhibition of metallothionein (MT) gene expression in the liver, as determined by oligonucleotide microarray hybridization. Similarly, in cultured human hepatocytes HepG2, GSPE downregulate the expression of MT genes at the mRNA level, as evaluated by quantitative RTPCR. Thus, mRNA levels of six functional MT genes, MT1A, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1X and MT2A, are diminished between 50 and 80% when HepG2 cells are treated during 12 h with GSPE. Only the expression of two human MT genes, MT1G and MT1E, is transiently increased during the first 2 h of treatment. GSPE-induced inhibition of MT genes expression is dose dependent, at concentrations that are not toxic for the cells. Our findings demonstrate that metallothionein genes are direct targets of procyanidins action, both in vivo and in vitro, in hepatic cells. Thus, this study will help to elucidate the mechanisms by which procyanidin exert their beneficial actions.
    Genes & Nutrition 11/2007; 2(1):105-9. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    Genes & Nutrition 11/2007; 2(1):99-100. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    Genes & Nutrition 11/2007; 2(1):101-3. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Procyanindin extract (PE) is a mixture of polyphenols, mainly procyanidins, obtained from grape seed with putative antiinflammatory activity. We evaluated the PE effect on RAW 264.7 macrophages stimulated with lipopolysaccharide plus interferon-gamma that show a rapid enhanced production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO). Our results demonstrated that PE significantly inhibited the overproduction of NO, dose and time dependently. PE caused a marked inhibition of PGE2 synthesis when administered during activation. Moreover, PE pretreatment diminished iNOS mRNA and protein amount dose dependently (10-65 microg/mL). PE (65 microg/mL) pretreatment inhibited NFkappaB (p65) translocation to nucleus by nearly 40%. Trimeric and longer oligomeric-rich procyanidin fractions from PE (5-30 microg/mL) inhibited iNOS expression but not the monomeric forms catechin and epicatechin. Thus, we show that the degree of polymerization is important in determining procyanidin effects. PE was considerably a more effective inhibitor of NO biosynthesis (IC50 = 50 microg/mL) in comparison to other antiinflammatories, such as aspirin (3 mM), indomethacin (20 microM), and dexamethasone (9 nM). In conclusion, PE modulates inflammatory response in activated macrophages by the inhibition of NO and PGE2 production, suppression of iNOS expression, and NFkB translocation. These results demonstrate an immunomodulatory role of grape seed procyanidins and thus a potential health-benefit in inflammatory conditions that exert an overproduction of NO and PGE2.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 06/2007; 55(11):4357-65. · 3.11 Impact Factor