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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 918069, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/918069
Review Article

Phytochemical Compounds and Protection from Cardiovascular Diseases: A State of the Art

1Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine and Psychology, Saint Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, 00189 Rome, Italy
2IRCCS Neuromed, 86077 Pozzilli, Italy

Received 18 March 2015; Accepted 14 June 2015

Academic Editor: Umberto Benedetto

Copyright © 2015 Beniamino Pagliaro 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.

Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases represent a worldwide relevant socioeconomical problem. Cardiovascular disease prevention relies also on lifestyle changes, including dietary habits. The cardioprotective effects of several foods and dietary supplements in both animal models and in humans have been explored. It was found that beneficial effects are mainly dependent on antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, also involving modulation of mitochondrial function. Resveratrol is one of the most studied phytochemical compounds and it is provided with several benefits in cardiovascular diseases as well as in other pathological conditions (such as cancer). Other relevant compounds are Brassica oleracea, curcumin, and berberine, and they all exert beneficial effects in several diseases. In the attempt to provide a comprehensive reference tool for both researchers and clinicians, we summarized in the present paper the existing literature on both preclinical and clinical cardioprotective effects of each mentioned phytochemical. We structured the discussion of each compound by analyzing, first, its cellular molecular targets of action, subsequently focusing on results from applications in both ex vivo and in vivo models, finally discussing the relevance of the compound in the context of human diseases.