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Bioavailability of Bergamot (<em>Citrus bergamia</em>) Flavanones and Biological Activity of Their Circulating Metabolites in Human Pro-Angiogenic Cells

Spigoni, Valentina, Mena, Pedro, Fantuzzi, Federica, Tassotti, Michele, Brighenti, Furio, Bonadonna, Riccardo C., Del Rio, Daniele, Dei Cas, Alessandra
Nutrients 2017 v.9 no.12
Citrus bergamia, apoptosis, bioactive properties, bioavailability, citrus fruits, citrus juices, gene expression, hesperetin, human cell lines, inflammation, metabolites, naringenin, phenolic compounds, stearic acid, sulfates, urine, volunteers
Myeloid angiogenic cells (MACs) play a key role in endothelial repairing processes and functionality but their activity may be impaired by the lipotoxic effects of some molecules like stearic acid (SA). Among the dietary components potentially able to modulate endothelial function in vivo, (poly)phenolic compounds represent serious candidates. Here, we apply a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to shed light on the prospects of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), a citrus fruit rich in flavanones and other phenolic compounds, in the framework of lipotoxicity-induced MACs impairment. The flavanone profile of bergamot juice was characterized and 16 compounds were identified, with a new 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG) flavanone, isosakuranetin-7-O-neohesperidoside-6″-O-HMG, described for the first time. Then, a pilot bioavailability study was conducted in healthy volunteers to assess the circulating flavanone metabolites in plasma and urine after consumption of bergamot juice. Up to 12 flavanone phase II conjugates (sulfates and glucuronides of hesperetin, naringenin and eriodyctiol) were detected and quantified. Finally, the effect of some of the metabolites identified in vivo, namely hesperetin-7-O-glucuronide, hesperetin-3′-O-glucuronide, naringenin-7-O-glucuronide and naringenin-4′-O-glucuronide, was tested, at physiological concentrations, on gene expression of inflammatory markers and apoptosis in MACs exposed to SA. Under these conditions, naringenin-4′-O-glucuronide and hesperetin-7-O-glucuronide were able to modulate inflammation, while no flavanone glucuronide was effective in curbing stearate-induced lipoapoptosis. These results demonstrate that some flavanone metabolites, derived from the in vivo transformation of bergamot juice phenolics in humans, may mitigate stearate-induced inflammation in MACs.