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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 232836, 7 pages
Research Article

Direct Effects of (−)-Epicatechin and Procyanidin B2 on the Respiration of Rat Heart Mitochondria

1Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Social Pharmacy, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Eiveniu 4, LT-50161 Kaunas, Lithuania
2Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Palackeho 1/3, 612 42 Brno, Czech Republic
3Department of Biochemistry, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, A. Mickeviciaus 9, LT-44307 Kaunas, Lithuania

Received 27 November 2014; Accepted 3 February 2015

Academic Editor: Min Li

Copyright © 2015 Dalia M. Kopustinskiene et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Flavonol (−)-epicatechin and its derived dimer procyanidin B2, present in high amounts in cocoa products, have been shown to exert beneficial effects on the heart and cardiovascular system; however, their mechanism of action has not been fully elucidated. We studied effects of (−)-epicatechin and procyanidin B2 on the oxidative phosphorylation of isolated rat heart mitochondria. (−)-Epicatechin and procyanidin B2 had stimulating effect (up to 30% compared to control) on substrate-driven (State 2) mitochondrial respiration. Their effect was dependent on the respiratory substrates used. (−)-Epicatechin at higher concentrations (from 0.27 µg/mL) significantly decreased (up to 15%) substrate- and ADP-driven (State 3) mitochondrial respiration in case of pyruvate and malate oxidation only. Procyanidin B2 (0.7–17.9 ng/mL) inhibited State 3 respiration rate up to 19%, the most profound effect being expressed with succinate as the substrate. (−)-Epicatechin at concentrations of 0.23 µg/mL and 0.46 µg/mL prevented loss of the cytochrome from mitochondria when substrate was succinate, supporting the evidence of membrane stabilizing properties of this flavonol. Thus, both (−)-epicatechin and procyanidin B2 directly influenced mitochondrial functions and the observed effects could help to explain cardiometabolic risk reduction ascribed to the consumption of modest amounts of cocoa products.