Cocoa flavanols improve endothelial functional integrity in healthy young and elderly subjects

Michael Gröne, Roberto Sansone, Phillip Höffken, Patrick Horn, Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, Hagen Schroeter, Malte Kelm, Christian Heiss

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Cocoa flavanols (CF) can improve vascular stiffness, blood pressure, and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in healthy subjects. Endothelial microparticles (EMPs) are markers of endothelial functional integrity reflecting activation and injury. In plasma samples, we investigated whether age-dependent changes in circulating EMPs exist and whether CFs decrease EMPs in healthy humans. The concentrations of CD31+/41-, CD144+, and CD62e+-EMPs (flow-cytometry) were increased in healthy elderly (n=19) as compared to young (n=20) non-smokers. EMPs correlated with age, systolic blood pressure, and pulse wave velocity. CD31+/41- and CD62e+-EMPs inversely correlated with FMD. Following 2 weeks twice-daily CF consumption (450 mg), CD31+/41- and CD144+-EMPs decreased both in young and elderly subjects compared to CF-free control. The EMP decrease inversely correlated with FMD improvements. Cardiovascular aging is associated with increased EMPs that can be modulated by dietary flavanols along with improvements in vascular function. This indicates that flavanol consumption can improve endothelial functional integrity in healthy humans.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date11 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jul 2019


  • age
  • arterial stiffness
  • blood pressure
  • endothelial function
  • endothelial microparticles
  • nutrition


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