Phytochemicals, Molecular Mechanisms and Health

Home » Research Teams » Phytochemicals, Molecular Mechanisms and Health (PHYTOBIOMOL)

The aim of the group is studying the molecular mechanism of action of food phytochemicals, mainly phenolic compounds and their metabolites, and the potential effect on health and in the prevention of highly prevalent chronic diseases related to oxidative stress and inflammation. The interest of the group also includes the study of the benefits of these compounds on the intestinal microbiome and on the metabolome. These investigations are developed as a holystic approach to evaluate the biological actions and the molecular mechanisms of action of the components by using celullar in vitro studies and preclinical animal models, as well as human clinical trials to verify the real effect of food intake on human health.

Research Lines

  • Molecular mechanisms of action and signalling pathways regulated by phytochemicals.
  • Colonic microbiota and phytochemicals.
  • Phytochemicals and chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, etc.).


  • Cellular and ex vivo models.
  • Preclinical and human intervention studies.
  • Biochemical (redox status, enzymatic activities, ELISA, etc) and molecular biology (Western-blot, RT-PCR) techniques.
  • Omic technologies.


  • D. Alvarez-Cilleros, E. López-Oliva, L. Goya, M.A. Martín, S. Ramos. Cocoa intake attenuates renal injury in Zucker Diabetic fatty rats by improving glucose homeostasis. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 127: 101-109, 2019.
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  • D. Álvarez-Cilleros, M.E. López-Oliva, D. Morales-Cano, B. Barreira, F. Vizcaíno, L. Goya, S. Ramos, M.Á. Martín. Dietary cocoa prevents aortic remodelling and vascular oxidative stress in diabetic rats. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 1900044, 2019.
  • D. Alvarez-Cilleros, S. Ramos, M.E. López-Oliva, F. Escrivá, C. Alvarez, E. Fernández-Millán, M.A. Martín. Cocoa diet modulates gut microbiota composition and improves intestinal health in Zucker diabetic rats. Food Research International 132: 109058, 2020.
  • D. Alvarez-Cilleros, M.E. López-Oliva, M.A. Martín, S. Ramos. (−)-Epicatechin and the colonic metabolite 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid protect against high glucose and lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in renal proximal tubular cells through NOX-4/p38 signalling. Food and Function 11: 8811-8824, 2020.
  • E. García-Díez, M.E. López-Oliva, J. Pérez-Jiménez, M.A. Martin and S. Ramos. Metabolic regulation of (−)-epicatechin and the colonic metabolite 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid on the glucose uptake, lipid accumulation and insulin signalling in cardiac H9c2 cells. Food and Function 13: 5602-5615, 2022.
  • E. García-Díez, M.E. López-Oliva, F. Pérez-Vizcaíno, J. Pérez-Jiménez, S. Ramos and M.A. Martin. Dietary supplementation with a cocoa–carob blend modulates gut microbiota and prevents intestinal oxidative stress and barrier dysfunction in Zucker diabetic rats. Antioxidants 12: 1519, 2023.

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