Procyanidins have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this benefit are not fully understood. Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production generated by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase is a common problem in different cardiovascular diseases. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of procyanidin-rich fractions from distilled grape pomace on NADPH oxidase activity in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Three differently polymerized and galloylated procyanidin fractions were analyzed for their NADPH oxidase inhibitory activity in cell lysates and in HUVEC cultures. All of the three fractions, up to 1 µg/ml, equally inhibited isolated NADPH oxidase in HUVEC lysates in a concentration-dependent manner and independently of any superoxide anion scavenging activities. The procyanidin fractions even blocked NADPH oxidase activity in intact HUVEC, inhibiting ROS production at both extra- and intracellular levels. The fractions achieved the same effects that known NADPH oxidase inhibitors, such as diphenylene iodonium and apocynin, but they presented better hydrosolubility. Our results demonstrated that procyanidin from grape pomace inhibit human endothelial NADPH oxidase regardless of their polymerization degree and galloylation percentage. Therefore, procyanidins are suitable NADPH oxidase inhibitors which could serve as models for therapeutic alternatives for cardiovascular diseases. J. Cell. Biochem. 113: 1386–1396, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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