Flaviola Targeted delivery of dietary flavanols for optimal human cell function: Effects on cardiovascular health

FLAVIOLA is a European research project funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission. FLAVIOLA combines the expertise of a broad and multi-disciplinary research team to provide crucial insights into the nutritional and biomedical properties of flavanols and procyanidins.

FLAVIOLA will leverage the latest innovations in chemistry, cardiovascular function analysis, food processing technology and flavanol analytics to:

  • Illuminate the cellular and sub-cellular effects of flavanols and their main human metabolites. This work will also cover nutrient-receptor interactions, as well as up-stream and down-stream signal cascades.
  • Investigate the key parameters of dietary flavanol absorption, clearance and efficacy towards surrogate markers of cardiovascular function in humans.
  • Assess the nutrient-derived biological benefits of flavanols, such as improved cell and organ functionality and whole organism vitality.
  • Develop innovative, natural and nutritionally responsible food matrices for optimised dietary flavanol delivery.
  • Demonstrate cardiovascular benefits and safety for a newly developed prototype food product.

We participate in work package (WP)2 “Susceptibility, age & gender aspects” and are leader of WP4 “(Sub-)cellular targets and mechanisms”.

In WP 2 we aim to establish a cell culture-based ‘no observed adverse effect level’ (NOAEL) assessment for specific flavanols and flavanol metabolites. Moreover, potential nutrient-nutrient [i.e. nitrate/nitrite-flavanols] or nutrient-drug interactions are evaluated that are relevant in the context of cardiovascular function and disease.

WP4 is directed to identify key molecular targets of dietary flavanols that take part in vascular homeostasis, in the different vascular cell types and in cardiomyocytes. Our particular focus lies on the characterisation of the cellular antioxidant effects and reactivity of flavanols and their major human metabolites. The establishment of an overall structure activity relationship (SAR) for the antioxidant activity of flavanols may provide a mechanistic foundation to better understand the biological cardioprotective properties of these compounds in vivo. 

Associated Staff

Aalt Bast

Prof. Dr. Aalt Bast is chairman of the Department of Toxicology at the Maastricht University. He studied chemistry in Amsterdam and did his PhD in Rot more ...

Guido Haenen

Guido Haenen (17/6/1959, Axel, The Netherlands) was registered as a Pharmacist in 1985 (with honors), and he obtained his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry more ...

Antje Weseler
Assistant Professor

Dr. Antje R. Weseler graduated in pharmacy at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf (Germany) and received her licensure as pharmacist in 1999. more ...