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Blueberry, Olive Oil, Liver Disease, and CoQ10


April 2015

By Life Extension

Blueberry extract prolongs life span of Drosophila melanogaster.

Blueberry possesses greater antioxidant capacity than most other fruits and vegetables. The present study investigated the life span-prolonging activity of blueberry extracts in fruit flies and explored its underlying mechanism. Results revealed that blueberry extracts at 5 mg/mL in diet could significantly extend the mean lifespan of fruit flies by 10%, accompanied by up-regulating gene expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and Rpn11 and down-regulating Methuselah (MTH) gene. Intensive H(2)O(2) and Paraquat challenge tests showed that life span was only extended in Oregon-R wild type flies but not in SOD(n108) or Cat(n1) mutant strains. Chronic Paraquat exposure shortened the maximum survival time from 73 to 35 days and decreased the climbing ability by 60% while blueberry extracts at 5mg/mL in diet could significantly increase the survival rate and partially restore the climbing ability with up-regulating SOD, CAT, and Rpn11. Furthermore, gustatory assay demonstrated that those changes were not due to the variation of food intake between the control and the experimental diet containing 5 mg/ml blueberry extracts. It was therefore concluded that the life span-prolonging activity of blueberry extracts was at least partially associated with its interactions with MTH, Rpn11, and endogenous antioxidant enzymes SOD and CAT.

Exp Gerontol. 2012 Feb;47(2):170-8

Antioxidant capacities of flavones and benefits in oxidative-stress related diseases.

Flavonoids, a group of secondary metabolites widely distributed in the plant kingdom, have been acknowledged for their interesting medicinal properties. Among them, natural flavones, as well as some of their synthetic derivatives, have been shown to exhibit several biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, anti-allergic, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and antimicrobial. The antioxidant properties of flavones allow them to demonstrate potential application as preventive and attenuating agents in oxidative stress, i.e., a biological condition that is closely associated to aging processes and to several diseases. Some flavones interfere in distinct oxidative-stress related events by directly reducing the levels of intracellular free radicals (hydroxyl, superoxide and nitric oxide) and/or of reactive species (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, peroxynitrite and hypochlorous acid) thus preventing their amplification and the consequent damage of other biomolecules such as lipids, proteins and DNA. Flavones can also hinder the activity of central free radical-producing enzymes, such as xanthine oxidase and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase (NADPH-oxidase) or inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and can even modulate the intracellular levels of oxidant and/or antioxidant enzymes. The evaluation of flavones antioxidant ability has been extensively determined in chemical or biological in vitro models, but in vivo therapy with individual flavones or with flavones-enriched extracts has also been reported. The present manuscript revises relevant studies focusing the preventive effects of flavones on stress-related diseases, namely the neurological and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and its associated complications.

Curr Top Med Chem. 2014 Dec 9

Biotransformed blueberry juice protects neurons from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway alterations.

A growing body of evidence supports the therapeutic effects of blueberry in neurodegenerative disorders. Biotransformation of blueberry juice by Serratia vaccinii bacteria increases its phenolic content and antioxidant activity. In neuronal cell culture, biotransformed blueberry juice (BJ) significantly increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes, namely catalase and superoxide dismutase. Moreover, BJ protected neurons against H2O2-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner. This associated with the upregulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family enzymes p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation, as well as with the protection of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK1/2) activity loss induced by H2O2. The present studies demonstrate that BJ can protect neurons against oxidative stress possibly by increasing antioxidant enzyme activities and activating p38- and JNK-dependent survival pathways while blocking MEK1/2- and ERK1/2-mediated cell death. Thus, BJ may represent a novel approach to prevent and to treat neurodegenerative disorders, and it may represent a source of novel therapeutic agents against these diseases.

Br J Nutr. 2010 Sep;104(5):656-63

Dietary blueberries attenuate atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by upregulating antioxidant enzyme expression.

Protective effects of blueberries (BB) against atherosclerosis and potential underlying mechanisms in reducing oxidative stress were examined in apoE-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice. ApoE(-/-) mice were fed an AIN-93G diet (CD) or CD formulated to contain 1% freeze-dried whole BB for 20 wk. The mean lesion area for apoE(-/-) mice fed BB was reduced by 39% (P < 0.001) in the aorta sinus and 58% (P < 0.001) in the descending aorta compared with CD-fed mice. These atheroprotective effects were independent of the serum lipid profile or total antioxidant capacity (as measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity). The concentration of a biomarker of lipid peroxidation, F(2)-isoprostane, was lower in liver of BB-fed mice (P < 0.05). Genes analyzed by RT-PCR array showed that 4 major antioxidant enzymes in aorta [superoxide dismutase (SOD) 1, SOD2, glutathione reductase (GSR), and thioredoxin reductase 1] were upregulated in BB-fed mice. Enzyme activities of SOD and GSR were greater (P < 0.05) in liver and/or serum of BB-fed mice than those of CD-fed mice. In addition, serum paraoxonase 1 activity in serum of BB-fed mice was also greater than that of CD-fed mice (P < 0.05) at the end of the study. These results suggest a protective effectiveness of BB against atherosclerosis in this apoE(-/-) mouse model. The potential mechanisms may involve reduction in oxidative stress by both inhibition of lipid peroxidation and enhancement of antioxidant defense.

J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1628-32

Blueberry polyphenols increase life span and thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans.

The beneficial effects of polyphenol compounds in fruits and vegetables are mainly extrapolated from in vitro studies or short-term dietary supplementation studies. Due to cost and duration, relatively little is known about whether dietary polyphenols are beneficial in whole animals, particularly with respect to aging. To address this question, we examined the effects of blueberry polyphenols on life span and aging of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, a useful organism for such a study. We report that a complex mixture of blueberry polyphenols increased life span and slowed aging-related declines in C. elegans. We also found that these benefits did not just reflect antioxidant activity in these compounds. For instance, blueberry treatment increased survival during acute heat stress, but was not protective against acute oxidative stress. The blueberry extract consists of three major fractions that all contain antioxidant activity. However, only one fraction, enriched in proanthocyanidin compounds, increased C. elegans life span and thermotolerance. To further determine how polyphenols prolonged C. elegans life span, we analyzed the genetic requirements for these effects. Prolonged life span from this treatment required the presence of a CaMKII pathway that mediates osmotic stress resistance, though not other pathways that affect stress resistance and longevity. In conclusion, polyphenolic compounds in blueberries had robust and reproducible benefits during aging that were separable from antioxidant effects.

Aging Cell. 2006 Feb;5(1):59-68

Protective roles of Gadd45 and MDM2 in blueberry anthocyanins mediated DNA repair of fragmented and non-fragmented DNA damage in UV-irradiated HepG2 cells.

Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible 45 (Gadd45) and MDM2 proteins, together with p21 and p53, play important roles in cell cycle checkpoints, DNA repair, and genome integrity maintenance. Gadd45 and MDM2 were activated and transcribed instantly by UV irradiation, whereas blueberry anthocyanins (BA) decreased the gene and protein expression levels in HepG2 cells for up to 24 h, and gradually restored the UV-induced fragmented and non-fragmented DNA damage of the nucleus at a time point of 12 h. Nevertheless, UV-irradiated HepG2 cell arrests occurred mainly in the G1 phase, which indicated G1 as a checkpoint. The proteins, p21 and p53, retain cellular integrity, suppressing the oncogenic transformation by interruption of the G1 phase of the cellular cycle, giving time for repairing the damage to DNA, or apoptosis induction if the damage is too severe to be repaired, while MDM2 and Gadd45 concomitantly ensure the presence of p53 and p21. Thus, we conclude that repair, together with Gadd45 and MDM2 genes, were involved in light and dark reaction mechanisms, however, BA could interfere and assist the repair through restoration, although further studies of the complex of the gene cascades triggered and responded to in BA-assisted DNA repair are needed.

Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Oct 30;14(11):21447-62

Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors.

PURPOSE: Wild blueberries (WB) (Vaccinium angustifolium) are rich sources of polyphenols, such as flavonols, phenolic acids and anthocyanins (ACNs), reported to decrease the risk of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. This study investigated the effect of regular consumption of a WB or a placebo (PL) drink on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in subjects with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. METHODS: Eighteen male volunteers (ages 47.8 ± 9.7 years; body mass index 24.8 ± 2.6 kg/m²) received according to a cross-over design, a WB (25 g freeze-dried powder, providing 375 mg of ACNs) or a PL drink for 6 weeks, spaced by a 6-week wash-out. Endogenous and oxidatively induced DNA damage in blood mononuclear cells, serum interleukin levels, reactive hyperemia index, nitric oxide, soluble vascular adhesion molecule concentration and other variables were analyzed. RESULTS: Wild blueberry drink intake significantly reduced the levels of endogenously oxidized DNA bases (from 12.5 ± 5.6 % to 9.6 ± 3.5 %, p ≤ 0.01) and the levels of H₂O₂-induced DNA damage (from 45.8 ± 7.9 % to 37.2 ± 9.1 %, p ≤ 0.01), while no effect was found after the PL drink. No significant differences were detected for markers of endothelial function and the other variables under study. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the consumption of the WB drink for 6 weeks significantly reduced the levels of oxidized DNA bases and increased the resistance to oxidatively induced DNA damage. Future studies should address in greater detail the role of WB in endothelial function.

Eur J Nutr. 2013 Apr;52(3):949-61

Effect of anthocyanin fractions from selected cultivars of Georgia-grown blueberries on apoptosis and phase II enzymes.

In recent years, considerable attention has been paid to anthocyanins due to their abilities to inhibit oxidative stress and cell proliferation. The regulations of apoptosis and the phase II enzymes glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and quinone reductase (QR) are other potential mechanisms through which flavonoids such as anthocyanins may prevent cancer. Our study confirmed that anthocyanin fractions from high bush blueberry cultivars increased apoptosis using two different methods: DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activity. The effect of anthocyanins on the activity of the detoxifying enzymes GST and QR was also determined. Major anthocyanins identified were delphinidin, cyanidin, peonidin, petunidin, and malvidin. In Tifblue and Powderblue cultivars, DNA fragmentation increased at anthocyanin concentrations from 50 to 150 microg/mL, but cells treated with the anthocyanin fraction of Brightblue and Brightwell showed a prominent ladder at 50-100 microg/mL when compared to cells treated with 150 microg/mL. There was a significant difference in the caspase-3 activity (P < 0.05) between the control cells and the cells treated with anthocyanins from all of the cultivars. The response correlated positively with dose. The QR activity was lower in all cells treated with an anthocyanin fraction from Tifblue, Powderblue, Brightblue, and Brightwell cultivars than in control cells (P < 0.05). The activity decreased gradually when treated with increased concentrations of anthocyanin fractions (50-150 microg/mL) in the Tifblue and Powderblue cultivars. The GST activity was lower (P < 0.05) in cells treated with anthocyanin fractions from all of the cultivars and at all concentrations. These results indicated that apoptosis was confirmed in HT-29 cells when treated with anthocyanins from blueberry cultivars at 50-150 microg/mL concentrations, but these same concentrations decrease QR and GST activities rather than induce them.

J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Apr 18;55(8):3180-5

Effects of blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) on DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, and phase II enzyme activities in rats.

Blueberry extracts have high antioxidant potential and increase phase II enzyme activities in vitro. This study tested the hypothesis that blueberries would reduce DNA damage and lipid peroxidation and increase phase II enzyme activities in vivo. Young, healthy male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 8 per group) were fed control AIN-93 diets or AIN-93 diets supplemented with blueberries or blueberry extracts for 3 weeks. Diets were supplemented with 10% freeze-dried whole blueberries, blueberry polyphenol extract and sugars to match the 10% blueberry diet, or 1 and 0.2% blueberry flavonoids, which were primarily anthocyanins. Liver and colon mucosa glutathione-S-transferase (GST), quinone reductase, and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activities in colon mucosa and liver were not significantly increased by freeze-dried whole blueberries or blueberry fractions. Liver GST activity, however, was approximately 25% higher than controls for the freeze-dried whole blueberry, blueberry polyphenol, and 1% flavonoid groups. DNA damage was significantly lower than control only in the liver of animals fed the 1% flavonoid diet. The level of urinary F(2)-isoprostanes, a measure of lipid peroxidation, was unaffected. In summary, in healthy rats, short-term supplementation with freeze-dried whole blueberries, blueberry polyphenols, or blueberry flavonoids did not significantly increase phase II enzyme activities. However, supplementation with 1% blueberry flavonoids did decrease oxidative DNA damage in the liver.

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Dec 24;56(24): 11700-6

Antioxidative dietary compounds modulate gene expression associated with apoptosis, DNA repair, inhibition of cell proliferation and migration.

Many dietary compounds are known to have health benefits owing to their antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. To determine the molecular mechanism of these food-derived compounds, we analyzed their effect on various genes related to cell apoptosis, DNA damage and repair, oxidation and inflammation using in vitro cell culture assays. This review further tests the hypothesis proposed previously that downstream products of COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) called electrophilic oxo-derivatives induce antioxidant responsive elements (ARE), which leads to cell proliferation under antioxidative conditions. Our findings support this hypothesis and show that cell proliferation was inhibited when COX-2 was down regulated by polyphenols and polysaccharides. Flattened macrophage morphology was also observed following the induction of cytokine production by polysaccharides extracted from viili, a traditional Nordic fermented dairy product. Coix lacryma-jobi (coix) polysaccharides were found to reduce mitochondrial membrane potential and induce caspase-3- and 9-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, polyphenols from blueberries were involved in the ultraviolet-activated p53/Gadd45/MDM2 DNA repair system by restoring the cell membrane potential. Inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 by saponin extracts of ginsenoside (Ginsen) and Gynostemma and inhibition of S100A4 by coix polysaccharides inhibited cancer cell migration and invasion. These observations suggest that antioxidants and changes in cell membrane potential are the major driving forces that transfer signals through the cell membrane into the cytosol and nucleus, triggering gene expression, changes in cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis or DNA repair.

Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Sep 15;15(9):16226-45