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J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Aug 14;61(32):7769-76. doi: 10.1021/jf401158a. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Chemical analysis and effect of blueberry and lingonberry fruits and leaves against glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Biology and ‡School of Pharmacy, Memorial University of Newfoundland , St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada A1B 3V6.


Phenolic compounds are a large class of phytochemicals that are widespread in the plant kingdom and known to have antioxidant capacities. This study aimed to determine the antioxidant capacities as well as the content of total soluble phenolics, anthocyanins, tannins, and flavonoids in the fruits and leaves of blueberries and lingonberries growing in Newfoundland. This study also determined the potential neuroprotective effect of extracts from fruits and leaves against glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity, which is believed to contribute to disorders such as stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. Lingonberry and blueberry plants were found to be rich sources of phenolic compounds. Total antioxidant capacities in terms of radical scavenging activity and reducing power were much higher in leaves of both plants as compared to their fruits. These results were in correlation with phenolic contents including total flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannins. Brain-derived cell cultures from rats were prepared and grown for about 2 weeks. Cell cultures were treated with glutamate (100 μM) for 24 h, and the effect of extracts was determined on cells subjected to this excitotoxicity. Glutamate treatment caused approximately 23% cell loss when measured after 24 h of exposure. Whereas lingonberry fruit extract did not provide protection from glutamate toxicity, blueberry fruit extracts were extremely protective. Leaf extracts of both lingonberry and blueberry showed a significant neuroprotective effect. The greater protective effect of leaf extracts was in correlation with the levels of phenolics and antioxidant capacity. These findings suggest that berries or their components may contribute to protecting the brain from various pathologies.

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