British Journal of Nutrition

  • British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 106 / Issue 11 / December 2011, pp 1664-1675
  • Copyright © The Authors 2011 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
  • DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 07 June 2011

Full Papers

Molecular Nutrition

Positive outcomes of oil palm phenolics on degenerative diseases in animal models

Ravigadevi Sambanthamurthia1 c1, YewAi Tana1, Kalyana Sundrama2, Kenneth C. Hayesa3, Mahinda Abeywardenaa4, Soon-Sen Leowa1, Shamala Devi Sekarana5, T. G. Sambandana6, ChoKyun Rhaa6, Anthony J. Sinskeya6, Krishnan Subramaniama7, Syed Fairusa1 and Mohd Basri Wahida1

a1 Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6, Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

a2 Malaysian Palm Oil Council, 2nd Floor, Wisma Sawit, Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

a3 Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454, USA

a4 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Gate 13, Kintore Avenue, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

a5 University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

a6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

a7 MAHSA University College, Jalan University Campus, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


It is well established that plant phenolics elicit various biological activities, with positive effects on health. Palm oil production results in large volumes of aqueous by-products containing phenolics. In the present study, we describe the effects of oil palm phenolics (OPP) on several degenerative conditions using various animal models. OPP reduced blood pressure in a NO-deficient rat model, protected against ischaemia-induced cardiac arrhythmia in rats and reduced plaque formation in rabbits fed an atherogenic diet. In Nile rats, a spontaneous model of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, OPP protected against multiple aspects of the syndrome and diabetes progression. In tumour-inoculated mice, OPP protected against cancer progression. Microarray studies on the tumours showed differential transcriptome profiles that suggest anti-tumour molecular mechanisms involved in OPP action. Thus, initial studies suggest that OPP may have potential against several chronic disease outcomes in mammals.

(Received January 31 2011)

(Revised March 09 2011)

(Accepted March 16 2011)

(Online publication June 07 2011)

Key Words:

  • Oil palm phenolics;
  • CVD;
  • Metabolic syndrome;
  • Anti-tumour mechanisms


c1 Corresponding author: R. Sambanthamurthi, fax +60 3 8926 1995, email


  Abbreviations: BP, blood pressure; GAE, gallic acid equivalent; l-NAME, NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester; OPP, oil palm phenolics; qRT-PCR, quantitative RT-PCR; TC, total cholesterol; VF, ventricular fibrillation