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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 504253, 15 pages
Review Article

Role of Polyphenols and Other Phytochemicals on Molecular Signaling

Laboratory of Vascular Biology, Department of Biotechnology, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences and Bioengineering Building, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600036, India

Received 20 October 2014; Revised 30 December 2014; Accepted 31 December 2014

Academic Editor: Cristina Angeloni

Copyright © 2015 Swapna Upadhyay and Madhulika Dixit. 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.


Optimized nutrition through supplementation of diet with plant derived phytochemicals has attracted significant attention to prevent the onset of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular impairments, cancer, and metabolic disorder. These phytonutrients alone or in combination with others are believed to impart beneficial effects and play pivotal role in metabolic abnormalities such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, hypertension, glucose intolerance, systemic inflammation, and oxidative stress. Epidemiological and preclinical studies demonstrated that fruits, vegetables, and beverages rich in carotenoids, isoflavones, phytoestrogens, and phytosterols delay the onset of atherosclerosis or act as a chemoprotective agent by interacting with the underlying pathomechanisms. Phytochemicals exert their beneficial effects either by reducing the circulating levels of cholesterol or by inhibiting lipid oxidation, while others exhibit anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet activities. Additionally, they reduce neointimal thickening by inhibiting proliferation of smooth muscle cells and also improve endothelium dependent vasorelaxation by modulating bioavailability of nitric-oxide and voltage-gated ion channels. However, detailed and profound knowledge on specific molecular targets of each phytochemical is very important to ensure safe use of these active compounds as a therapeutic agent. Thus, this paper reviews the active antioxidative, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, or antiangiogenesis role of various phytochemicals for prevention of chronic diseases.