Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2018-11-08; 23.11:

The Effects of Different Degrees of Procyanidin Polymerization on the Nutrient Absorption and Digestive Enzyme Activity in Mice

Zhong H, Xue Y, Lu X, Shao Q, Cao Y, Wu Z, Chen G

PMID: 30413083


Proanthocyanidins, including polymers with both low and high degrees of polymerization, are the focus of intensive research worldwide due to their high antioxidant activity, medicinal applications, and pharmacological properties. However, the nutritional value of these compounds is limited because they readily form complexes with proteins, polysaccharides, and metal ions when consumed. In this study, we examined the effects of proanthocyanidins with different degrees of polymerization on white mice. Twenty-four male white mice were randomly divided into three groups of eight mice each and fed proanthocyanidins with a low degree of polymerization or a high degree of polymerization or a distilled water control via oral gavage over a 56-day period. We examined the effects of these proanthocyanidins on digestive enzyme activity and nutrient absorption. Compared to the control group, the group fed high-polymer proanthocyanidins exhibited a significant reduction in net body mass, total food intake, food utility rate, amylase activity, protease activity, and major nutrient digestibility ( < 0.05), while the group fed low-polymerization proanthocyanidins only exhibited significant reductions in total food intake, α-amylase activity, and apparent digestibility of calcium and zinc ( < 0.05). Therefore, proanthocyanidins with a high degree of polymerization had a greater effect on digestive enzyme activity and nutrient absorption than did those with a low degree of polymerization. This study lays the foundation for elucidating the relationship between procyanidin polymerization and nutrient uptake, with the aim of reducing or eliminating the antinutritional effects of polyphenols.