A recently published research paper provides an example of use of an original experimental model. In this study, human hepatic cells were treated with serum metabolites of proanthocyanidin-rich extracts of cocoa, French maritime pine bark, and grape seed administered to rats. All groups of metabolites reduced lipid synthesis by the cells, including that of free cholesterol, cholesterol ester, and triglycerides. In particular, the grape seed extract metabolites reduced the lipid synthesis more so than the extract administered to the cells directly (Abstract).
This study is interesting for the reason that it appears to use an original research model, using metabolites of plant extract to be administered to cells in vitro. The preponderance of in vitro research to date appears to largely ignore the metabolic fate of plant compounds administered to both humans and animals. The compounds or preparations are applied to the cells directly and the effect is observed. This, however, may generate data that is incompatible with real-life circumstances, since ingested compounds rarely enter the blood – and, hence, all the internal tissues – unmetabolized. It may be painful to acknowledge that, because of this, the usefulness of most of the in vitro data to date is limited. In this study, the scientists found an original, if not to say, smart, way to circumvent this problem without having to perform costly pharmacokinetic experiments and synthesis of new molecules. We congratulate them on their ingenuity.