The objectives of this chapter are to summarize and discuss (i) the anthocyanins structure and content in foodstuffs and their dietary intake (ii) the anthocyanins bioavailability and human metabolic pathways and (iii) the in vitro and in vivo potent anti-neuroinflammatory effects of anthocyanins and their metabolites. Indeed, anthocyanins are polyphenolic compounds belonging to the group of flavonoids, and are one of the most commonly consumed polyphenols in a normal diet. They are responsible of red, blue and purple color of several fruits and vegetables and their intake has been related with several human health benefits. The anthocyanins structures diversities as well as their content in various fruits, vegetables and cereals is addressed. Moreover, despite the growing evidence for the protective effects of anthocyanins, it is important to highlight that the in vivo bioavailability of these compounds is relatively low in comparison to their more stable metabolites. Indeed, after consumption, these bioactives are subjected to substantial transformations in human body. Phase I and II metabolites generated by intestinal and hepatic enzymatic reactions, and phenolic acids produced by gut microbiota and their metabolized forms, are the most important metabolic anthocyanins forms. For this reason, the study of the biological properties of these circulating metabolites represents a more in vivo realistic situation. Although the anthocyanin bioavailability researches in humans are limited, they will be discussed together with a global metabolic pathway for the main anthocyanins. Moreover, several works have demonstrated that anthocyanins can cross the blood brain barrier, and accumulate in brain endothelial cells, brain parenchymal tissue, striatum, hippocampus, cerebellum and cortex. Consequently, the study of anthocyanins as potent therapeutic agents in neurodegenerative diseases has gained relevance and the principal and the most recent studies are also discussed in the book chapter.
Part of the book: Phenolic Compounds