This review summarizes the current knowledge of the regulatory role of pure anthocyans in cellular signaling pathways and gene expression. The molecular basis for anthocyans pharmacological activity includes the regulation of plethora of mechanisms mainly involved in: (1) suppression of the inflammatory response through targeting the phospholipase A2 and PI3K/Akt and NF-κB pathways, (2) protection from cardiovascular disease by exerting (i) antihypertensive and endothelium-protective activity through targeting the Akt/eNOS and ACE pathways (ii) antiatherogenic activity through targeting NF-κB mediated VCAM and ICAM expression, (3) growth/differentiation control and tumor suppression by exerting (i) anticancerogenic activity through targeting the EGF and HGF signaling pathways (ii) tumor anti-invasive activity through targeting the VEGF signaling pathway and ECM degrading enzymes (iii) cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis through the JNK/p38 MAPK mediated caspase activation (iv) modulation of chemotherapeutic efficacy by affecting resistance to anticancer drugs, (4) reduction of diabetes incidence through modulation of insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization, (5) neuroprotection through amelioration of oxidative stress and Aβ deposition, and (6) hepatoprotective activity through interference with TNF-α and TGF-β in the liver. The estrogen-like activity of anthocyans could be utilized in cancer and hormone-replacement therapy. These data provide a concise insight into molecular mechanisms of protective and therapeutic activity of anthocyans in various pathological conditions, which may not be attributed solely to their antioxidant activity but also to direct blockage of signaling pathways. Structure-activity analysis reveals that the number of hydroxyl groups and presence of sugar moiety are crucial for their specific modulatory actions.
Keywords: Anthocyanins, anthocyanidins, signaling pathway, inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, neuronal, damage, liver fibrosis, neuronal damage
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