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

Blueberry polyphenols increase lifespan and thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging, Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.

Abstract

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 lifespan and aging of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, a useful organism for such a study. We report that a complex mixture of blueberry polyphenols increased lifespan 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 lifespan and thermotolerance. To further determine how polyphenols prolonged C. elegans lifespan, we analyzed the genetic requirements for these effects. Prolonged lifespan 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.

PMID:
16441844
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1413581
Free PMC Article

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