Cranberry flavonoids prevent toxic rat liver mitochondrial damage in vivo and scavenge free radicals in vitro.
The present study was undertaken for further elucidation of the mechanisms of flavonoid biological activity, focusing on the antioxidative and protective effects of cranberry flavonoids in free radical-generating systems and those on mitochondrial ultrastructure during carbon tetrachloride-induced rat intoxication. Treatment of rats with cranberry flavonoids (7mg/kg) during chronic carbon tetrachloride-induced intoxication led to prevention of mitochondrial damage, including fragmentation, rupture and local loss of the outer mitochondrial membrane. In radical-generating systems, cranberry flavonoids effectively scavenged nitric oxide (IC50 =4.4+/-0.4micro g/ml), superoxide anion radicals (IC50 =2.8+/-0.3micro g/ml) and hydroxyl radicals (IC50 =53+/-4micro g/ml). The IC50 for reduction of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radicals (DPPH) was 2.2+/-0.3micro g/ml. Flavonoids prevented to some extent lipid peroxidation in liposomal membranes and glutathione oxidation in erythrocytes treated with UV irradiation or organic hydroperoxides as well as decreased the rigidity of the outer leaflet of the liposomal membranes. The hepatoprotective potential of cranberry flavonoids could be due to specific prevention of rat liver mitochondrial damage. The mitochondria-addressed effects of flavonoids might be related both to radical-scavenging properties and modulation of various mitochondrial events.