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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017, Article ID 6293740, 11 pages
Research Article

Effect of Cocoa Polyphenolic Extract on Macrophage Polarization from Proinflammatory M1 to Anti-Inflammatory M2 State

1Department of Medicine, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Via A. del Portillo 21, 00128 Roma, Italy
2Department of Biomedical, Dental Sciences and Morphological and Functional Images, University of Messina, Via Consolare Valeria, 98125 Messina, Italy
3European Center for Brain Research, Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS, Rome, Italy
4Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sense Organs, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, P.zza G. Cesare, 11, 70124 Bari, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Anna Maria Sardanelli; ti.abinu@illenadras.airamanna

Received 23 September 2016; Revised 22 November 2016; Accepted 20 April 2017; Published 28 June 2017

Academic Editor: Chung-Yen Oliver Chen

Copyright © 2017 Laura Dugo 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.


Polyphenols-rich cocoa has many beneficial effects on human health, such as anti-inflammatory effects. Macrophages function as control switches of the immune system, maintaining the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory activities. We investigated the hypothesis that cocoa polyphenol extract may affect macrophage proinflammatory phenotype M1 by favoring an alternative M2 anti-inflammatory state on macrophages deriving from THP-1 cells. Chemical composition, total phenolic content, and antioxidant capacity of cocoa polyphenols extracted from roasted cocoa beans were determined. THP-1 cells were activated with both lipopolysaccharides and interferon-γ for M1 or with IL-4 for M2 switch, and specific cytokines were quantified. Cellular metabolism, through mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and ATP levels were evaluated. Here, we will show that cocoa polyphenolic extract attenuated in vitro inflammation decreasing M1 macrophage response as demonstrated by a significantly lowered secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Moreover, treatment of M1 macrophages with cocoa polyphenols influences macrophage metabolism by promoting oxidative pathways, thus leading to a significant increase in O2 consumption by mitochondrial complexes as well as a higher production of ATP through oxidative phosphorylation. In conclusion, cocoa polyphenolic extract suppresses inflammation mediated by M1 phenotype and influences macrophage metabolism by promoting oxidative pathways and M2 polarization of active macrophages.