Mena, P. (Autor de correspondencia); Brescani, L.; Brindani, N.; Ludwig Sanz Orrio, Iziar Amaia
; Pereira-Caro, G.; Angelino, D.; Llorach, R.; Calani, L.; Brighenti, F.; Clifford, M.; Gill, C.; Crozier, A.; Curti, C.; del Rio, D.
Phenyl-gamma-valerolactones (PVLs) and their related phenylvaleric acids (PVAs) are the main metabolites of flavan-3-ols, the major class of flavonoids in the human diet. Despite their presumed importance, these gut microbiota-derived compounds have, to date, in terms of biological activity, been considered subordinate to their parent dietary compounds, the flavan-3-ol monomers and proanthocyanidins. In this review, the role and prospects of PVLs and PVAs as key metabolites in the understanding of the health features of flavan-3-ols have been critically assessed. Among the topics covered, are proposals for a standardised nomenclature for PVLs and PVAs. The formation, bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of PVLs and PVAs from different types of flavan-3-ols are discussed, taking into account in vitro and animal studies, as well as inter-individual differences and the existence of putative flavan-3-ol metabotypes. Synthetic strategies used for the preparation of PVLs are considered and the methodologies for their identification and quantification assessed. Metabolomic approaches unravelling the role of PVLs and PVAs as biomarkers of intake are also described. Finally, the biological activity of these microbial catabolites in different experimental models is summarised. Knowledge gaps and future research are considered in this key area of dietary (poly) phenol research.