Punicalagin Induces Serum Low-Density Lipoprotein Influx to Macrophages.
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016 ;2016:7124251. Epub 2016 Aug 19. PMID: 27516832
High levels of circulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are a primary initiating event in the development of atherosclerosis. Recently, the antiatherogenic effect of polyphenols has been shown to be exerted via a mechanism unrelated to their antioxidant capacity and to stem from their interaction with specific intracellular or plasma proteins. In this study, we investigated the interaction of the main polyphenol in pomegranate, punicalagin, with apolipoprotein B-100 (ApoB100) that surrounds LDL. Punicalagin bound to ApoB100 at low concentrations (0.25-4 μM). Upon binding, it induced LDL influx to macrophages in a concentration-dependent manner, up to 2.5-fold. In contrast, another polyphenol which binds to ApoB100, glabridin, did not affect LDL influx. We further showed that LDL influx occurs specifically through the LDL receptor, with LDL thenaccumulating in the cell cytoplasm. Taken together with the findings of Aviram et al., 2000, that pomegranate juice and punicalagin induce plasma LDL removal and inhibit macrophage cholesterol synthesis and accumulation, our results suggest that, upon binding, punicalagin stimulates LDL influx to macrophages, thus reducing circulating cholesterol levels.