Nutrients 2017 03 239(4) pii 10.3390/nu9040321
Background and aims: Dietary studies have shown that active biopeptides provide protective health benefits, although the mediating pathways are somewhat uncertain. To throw light on this situation, we studied the effects of consuming Spanish dry-cured ham on platelet function, monocyte activation markers and the inflammatory status of healthy humans with pre-hypertension. Methods: Thirty-eight healthy volunteers with systolic blood pressure of >125 mmHg were enrolled in a two-arm crossover randomized controlled trial. Participants received 80 g/day dry-cured pork ham of >11 months proteolysis or 100 g/day cooked ham (control product) for 4 weeks followed by a 2-week washout before "crossing over" to the other treatment for 4 more weeks. Soluble markers and cytokines were analyzed by ELISA. Platelet function was assessed by measuring P-selectin expression and PAC-1 binding after ADP (adenosine diphosphate) stimulation using whole blood flow cytometry. Monocyte markers of the pathological status (adhesion, inflammatory and scavenging receptors) were also measured by flow cytometry in the three monocyte subsets after the interventional period. Results: The mean differences between dry-cured ham and cooked ham followed by a time period adjustment for plasmatic P-selectin and interleukin 6 proteins slightly failed (p = 0.062 and p = 0.049, respectively), notably increased for MCP-1 levels (p = 0.023) while VCAM-1 was not affected. Platelet function also decreased after ADP stimulation. The expression of adhesion and scavenging markers (ICAM1R, CXCR4 and TLR4) in the three subsets of monocytes was significantly higher (all p < 0.05). Conclusions: The regular consumption of biopeptides contained in the dry-cured ham but absent in cooked ham impaired platelet and monocyte activation and the levels of plasmatic P-selectin, MCP-1 and interleukin 6 in healthy subjects. This study strongly suggests the existence of a mechanism that links dietary biopeptides and beneficial health effects.