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Br J Nutr. 2013 May 28;109(10):1746-54. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512003911. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Blueberry intervention improves vascular reactivity and lowers blood pressure in high-fat-, high-cholesterol-fed rats.

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Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AP, UK.


Growing evidence suggests that intake of flavonoid-containing foods may exert cardiovascular benefits in human subjects. We have investigated the effects of a 10-week blueberry (BB) supplementation on blood pressure (BP) and vascular reactivity in rats fed a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet, known to induce endothelial dysfunction. Rats were randomly assigned to follow a control chow diet, a chow diet supplemented with 2 % (w/w) BB, a high-fat diet (10 % lard; 0·5 % cholesterol) or the high fat plus BB for 10 weeks. Rats supplemented with BB showed significant reductions in systolic BP (SBP) of 11 and 14 %, at weeks 8 and 10, respectively, relative to rats fed the control chow diet (week 8 SBP: 107·5 (SEM 4·7) v. 122·2 (SEM 2·1) mmHg, P= 0·018; week 10 SBP: 115·0 (SEM 3·1) v. 132·7 (SEM 1·5) mmHg, P< 0·0001). Furthermore, SBP was reduced by 14 % in rats fed with the high fat plus 2 % BB diet at week 10, compared to those on the high-fat diet only (SBP: 118·2 (SEM 3·6) v. 139·5 (SEM 4·5) mmHg, P< 0·0001). Aortas harvested from BB-fed animals exhibited significantly reduced contractile responses (to L-phenylephrine) compared to those fed the control chow or high-fat diets. Furthermore, in rats fed with high fat supplemented with BB, aorta relaxation was significantly greater in response to acetylcholine compared to animals fed with the fat diet. These data suggest that BB consumption can lower BP and improve endothelial dysfunction induced by a high fat, high cholesterol containing diet.

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