Olive Oil Phenols and Nitric Oxide Affect Lymphomonocyte Cytosolic Calcium
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The nutritional value of any foods is not limited to their content in essential nutrients or in nutrients generally speaking. Of course, food is a source of energy and essential nutrients, but it is also a mixture of many molecules, some in high, low, or very low amounts. These may interact in various ways and may influence human health in yet unpredictable manners either in the short or long term. For this reason, efforts are being made towards the understanding of the physiological and medical significance of food. The chief constituent of alimentary fat is triacylglycerol. Various triacylglycerol molecules may differ in the proportion and position of the fatty acids they contain. Much work has been done on this subject, especially with reference to polyunsaturated essential fatty acid. However, olive oil contains a number of molecules besides triacylglycerols. This chapter is dedicated to some of these, namely to phenols. Biochemical action of phenols is important for several reasons. Technically speaking, oils can be prepared to contain higher or lower amounts of phenols; moreover, these substances could be used to enrich food or as supplements for the prevention of important illnesses, such as coronary heart disease. The mechanism(s) responsible for the effects of phenols have not yet been fully clarified. Antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging may be relevant in this connection. Yet, other hypotheses have been put forward. For instance, it has been reported that red wine phenols increase cytosolic calcium ([Ca2+]c) in bovine endothelial cells, similarly to bradikinin and to ATP. This chapter reports the effect of extra virgin olive oil phenols on cytosolic calcium [Ca2+]c variations due to nitric oxide (NO). © 2010 Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.