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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Research Project #440318

Research Project: Are Protective Effects of Blueberry Polyphenols Mediated by the Microbiome

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Project Number: 2032-51530-025-067-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 30, 2025

The central hypothesis of the proposed research is that blueberries (BB) are an ideal food and dietary component to protect against High Fat Diet (HFD) induced NAFLD through modulation of gut microbiota. This hypothesis will be tested by the following objective: determine the effect of blueberries (BB) in preventing gut microbiome dysbiosis in high-fat diet (HFD) induced mouse model of NAFLD. Another aim of this NACA is to support the 1890 sabbatical program. This is designed to foster a peer and multi organizational collaboration and partnership between faculty in the Food and Animal Sciences Department at Alabama A&M University and investigators from USDA/ARS with expertise in omics research.

The proposed research is an integration of omics focused experimental design. Study 1 will investigate the efficacy of blueberries (BB) in the treatment of High Fat Diet (HFD)-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in an established mouse model (C57LB/6J) that captures the spectrum of liver damages seen in human NAFLD. Experimental: C57BL/6J mice will be administered HFD (60% fat, 20% protein, 20% carbohydrates) or control diet (CD; 10% fat, 20% protein, 70% carbohydrates), with or without BB for 6-8 weeks. At the end of this period, energy intakes along with body composition will be assessed using the EchoMRI-700 whole body composition analyzer. The effect of experimental diets on metabolic changes, liver histology, hepatic and plasma lipid composition, insulin and liver enzymes will be evaluated. Since inflammation is one of the hallmarks of NAFLD, Pro-inflammatory proteins including will be determined. Given the importance of NAFLD and the association between specific microbial populations, Study 2 will investigate whether BB supplementation could ameliorate HFD-induced dysbiosis in the gut microbiota. A multi-omic approach will be utilized to determine alterations and composition in gut microbiota.