Cranberries inhibit LDL oxidation and induce LDL receptor expression in hepatocytes
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in most industrialized countries. Cranberries were evaluated for their potential roles in dietary prevention of CVD. Cranberry extracts were found to have potent antioxidant capacity preventing in vitro LDL oxidation with increasing delay and suppression of LDL oxidation in a dose-dependent manner. The antioxidant activity of 100 g cranberries against LDL oxidation was equivalent to 1000 mg vitamin C or 3700 mg vitamin E. Cranberry extracts also significantly induced expression of hepatic LDL receptors and increased intracellular uptake of cholesterol in HepG2 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. This suggests that cranberries could enhance clearance of excessive plasma cholesterol in circulation. We propose that additive or synergistic effects of phytochemicals in cranberries are responsible for the inhibition of LDL oxidation, the induced expression of LDL receptors, and the increased uptake of cholesterol in hepatocytes.