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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Jan 27;11:8. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-8.

Antioxidative protection of dietary bilberry, chokeberry and Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19 in mice subjected to intestinal oxidative stress by ischemia-reperfusion.

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  • 1Food Hygiene, Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition, Lund University, Sweden.



Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) in the intestines is an inflammatory condition which activates leukocytes and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and leads to lipid peroxidation and DNA damage. Bilberry and chokeberry fruits are rich sources of polyphenols which may act as antioxidants and prevent lipid peroxidation. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) may improve microbial status in the intestines and increase the metabolic activity towards polyphenolic degradation. The aim of the study was to clarify antioxidative effects of bilberry and chokeberry fruits alone and with addition of a LAB-strain, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19, in an I/R-model in mice.


Male BALB/cJ mice were fed the experimental diets for 10 days. Diets consisted of standard chow supplemented with either bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) or chokeberry (Aronia × prunifolia) powder alone or in combination with the LAB-strain Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19. I/R-injury was induced by holding superior mesenteric artery clamped for 30 minutes followed by reperfusion for 240 minutes. Thereafter, colonic and caecal tissues and contents were collected. Malondialdehyde (MDA) was used as indicator of lipid peroxidation and was measured by a calorimetric assay, lactobacilli were cultured on Rogosa agar plates and Enterobacteriaceae on VRBG agar plates, anthocyanins and phenolic acids were analysed by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MSn.


MDA was significantly decreased in the colon of groups fed bilberry alone (p = 0.030) and in combination with L. plantarum HEAL19 (p = 0.021) compared to the IR-control but not in chokeberry-fed groups. Supplementation with bilberry or chokeberry alone reduced the total number of lactobacilli on the mucosa. Higher concentrations of anthocyanins were found in the colon than in the caecum content of mice. A more varied composition of different anthocyanins was also observed in the colon content compared to the caecum of bilberry-fed mice. Phenolic acids formed by microbial degradation of the dietary polyphenols in the gut could be detected. More phenolic metabolites were found in the intestines of bilberry-fed mice than in the chokeberry-fed ones.


Bilberry alone and in combination with L. plantarum HEAL19 exerts a better protection against lipid peroxidation than chokeberry. These dietary supplements may be used to prevent or suppress oxidative stress.

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