Marcone S, Belton O, Fitzgerald DJ. - - Br J Clin Pharmacol 2016: in press.
Bioactive peptides derived from milk proteins are food components that, in addition to their nutritional value, retain many biological properties and have therapeutic effects in several health disorders, including cardiovascular disease. Amongst these, atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of heart attack and strokes. It is a progressive dyslipidaemic and inflammatory disease where accumulation of oxidized lipids and inflammatory cells leads to the formation of an atherosclerotic plaque in the vessel wall. Milk-derived bioactive peptides can be released during gastrointestinal digestion, food processing or by enzymatic and bacterial fermentation and are considered to promote diverse beneficial effects such as lipid lowering, antihypertensive, immnomodulating, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects. In this review, an overview of the diverse biological effects of these compounds is given, particularly focusing on their beneficial properties on cardiovascular disease and proposing novel mechanisms of action responsible for their bioactivity. Attempts to prevent cardiovascular diseases target modifications of several risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, high blood concentrations of lipids or insulin resistance. Milk-derived bioactive peptides are a source of health-enhancing components and the potential health benefit of these compounds has a growing commercial potential. Consequently, they have been incorporated as ingredients in functional foods, as dietary supplements and as pharmaceuticals to promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases