Epidemiological studies suggest that a moderate consumption of anthocyanins may be associated with protection against coronary heart disease. The main dietary sources of anthocyanins include red-coloured fruits and red wine. Although dietary anthocyanins comprise a diverse mixture of molecules, little is known how structural diversity relates to their bioavailability and biological function. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the absorption and metabolism of the 3-monoglucosides of delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin and malvidin in humans and to examine both the effect of consuming a red wine extract on plasma antioxidant status and on monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 production in healthy human subjects. After a 12-h overnight fast, seven healthy volunteers received 12 g of an anthocyanin extract and provided 13 blood samples in the 24 h following the test meal. Furthermore, urine was collected during this 24-h period. Anthocyanins were detected in their intact form in both plasma and urine samples. Other anthocyanin metabolites could also be detected in plasma and urine and were identified as glucuronides of peonidin and malvidin. Anthocyanins and their metabolites appeared in plasma about 30 min after ingestion of the test meal and reached their maximum value around 1.6 h later for glucosides and 2.5 h for glucuronides. Total urinary excretion of red wine anthocyanins was 0.05±0.01% of the administered dose within 24 h. About 94% of the excreted anthocyanins was found in urine within 6 h. In spite of the low concentration of anthocyanins found in plasma, an increase in the antioxidant capacity and a decrease in MCP-1 circulating levels in plasma were observed.