Cranberry Proanthocyanidins: Natural Weapons against Periodontal Diseases
Cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon ) is known to have a beneficial effect on several aspects of human health. Proanthocyanidins (PACs), the most abundant flavonoids extracted from red cranberry fruits, have been reported to possess antimicrobial, antiadhesion, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent in vitro studies have shown that cranberry PACs may be potential therapeutic agents for the prevention and management of periodontitis, an inflammatory disease of bacterial origin affecting tooth-supporting tissues. After presenting an overview of cranberry phytochemicals and their potential for human health benefits, this review will focus on the effects of cranberry PACs on connective tissue breakdown and alveolar bone destruction, as well as their potential for controlling periodontal diseases. Possible mechanisms of action of cranberry PACs include the inhibition of (i) bacterial and host-derived proteolytic enzymes, (ii) host inflammatory response, and (iii) osteoclast differentiation and activity. Given that cranberry PACs have shown interesting properties in in vitro studies, clinical trials are warranted to better evaluate the potential of these molecules for controlling periodontal diseases.