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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353114

Research Project: USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition

Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

Title: Preventative effects on atherosclerosis by berries - the case of blueberries

Author
item Wu, Xianli
item Wang, Thomas - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Prior, Ronald - University Of Arkansas
item Pehrsson, Pamela

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/9/2018
Publication Date: 8/9/2018
Citation: Wu, X., Wang, T.T., Prior, R.L., Pehrsson, P.R. 2018. Preventative effects on atherosclerosis by berries - the case of blueberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03201.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03201

Interpretive Summary: The effects of berry consumption in preventing cardiovascular diseases have been implicated in recent years. However, research on the prevention of atherosclerosis by individual whole berries, especially the direct evidence, are still scarce. Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of cardiovascular diseases. Hence further elucidating the role of berries in prevention of atherosclerosis is warranted. In this review, blueberries were selected as the case to articulate research strategies for studying protective effects of berries. Studies from human subjects and various animal models were summarized. The mechanisms blueberries may act were also discussed. Blueberries were found to contain high level polyphenols, which were widely indicated as major bioactive compounds. Nonetheless, the metabolites or breakdown compounds of blueberry consumption, such as simple phenolic acids, rather than original compounds in berries, may be the actual bioactive compounds in the body. The future research should focus on obtaining more direct evidence, preferably in human; better understanding the molecular mechanisms, and identify the bioactive compounds and the possible synergistic effects. The research strategy discussed here may also be applied to the studies of other berries.

Technical Abstract: The effects of berry consumption in preventing cardiovascular diseases have been implicated in recent years. However, research on the prevention of atherosclerosis by individual whole berries, especially the direct evidence, are still scarce. Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, further elucidating the role of berries in prevention of atherosclerosis is warranted. In this review, blueberries were selected as the case to articulate research strategies for studying athero-protective effects of berries. Studies from human subjects and various animal models were summarized. The mechanisms blueberries may act, through reducing oxidative stress, decreasing inflammation, improving endothelial dysfunction, regulating cholesterol accumulation and trafficking, as well as potentially influencing gut microbiota, were also discussed. Blueberries were found to contain high level polyphenols, which were widely indicated as major bioactive compounds. Nonetheless, the metabolites/catabolites of blueberry consumption, such as simple phenolic acids, rather than original compounds in berries, may be the actual in vivo bioactive compounds. The future research should focus on obtaining more direct evidence, preferably in humans; better understanding the molecular mechanisms, and identifying the in vivo bioactive compounds and the possible synergistic effects. The research strategy discussed here may also be applied to the studies of other berries.