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Rev Diabet Stud. 2013 Winter;10(4):270-82. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2013.10.270. Epub 2014 Feb 10.

Polyphenol-rich bilberry ameliorates total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol when implemented in the diet of Zucker diabetic fatty rats.

Author information

1
Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus C, Denmark.
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Engineering, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bilberries and blackcurrants are nutrient sources rich in bioactive components, including dietary fibers, polyphenols, and anthocyanins, which possess potent cardiovascular protective properties. Few studies investigating the cardio-protective effects of natural components have focused on whole bilberries or blackcurrants.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this trial was to investigate whether a diet enriched with bilberries or blackcurrants has beneficial effects on glucose metabolism, lipid profile, blood pressure, and expression of genes related to glucose and lipid metabolism.

METHODS:

Male Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats (n = 48) were randomly assigned to either a control, bilberry-enriched, blackcurrant-enriched, or fiber-enriched diet for 8 weeks ad libitum. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis was performed on liver, adipose, and muscle tissue. Berry polyphenol content was determined by HPLC and LC-MS analysis.

RESULTS:

Bilberry enrichment reduced total (-21%, p = 0.0132) and LDL-cholesterol (-60%, p = 0.0229) levels, but increased HDL-cholesterol to a lesser extent than in controls. This may partly be due to the altered hepatic liver X receptor-α expression (-24%, p < 0.001). Neither bilberries nor blackcurrants influenced glucose metabolism or blood pressure. Nevertheless, transcriptional analysis implied a better conservation of hepatic and adipocyte insulin sensitivity by bilberry enrichment. Anthocyanins constituted 91% and 87% of total polyphenol content in bilberries and blackcurrants, respectively. However, total anthocyanin content (3441 mg/100 g) was 4-fold higher in bilberries than in blackcurrants (871 mg/100 g).

CONCLUSIONS:

Bilberry consumption ameliorated total and LDL-cholesterol levels, but not HDL-cholesterol levels in ZDF rats. Neither bilberry nor blackcurrant enrichment delayed the development of diabetes or hypertension. Thus, in rats, bilberries may be valuable as a dietary preventive agent against hypercholesterolemia, probably by virtue of their high anthocyanin content.

PMID:
24841880
PMCID:
PMC4160013
DOI:
10.1900/RDS.2013.10.270
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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