Blueberries Decrease Brain Damage19.09.2008
by Life Enthusiast Staff
Feeding rats diets enriched in lowbush blueberries for six weeks decreases ischemia-induced brain damage.
Nutr Neurosci 2002 Dec;5(6):427-31 (ISSN: 1028-415X) Sweeney MI; Kalt W; MacKinnon SL; Ashby J; Gottschall-Pass KT, Department of Biology, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Ave, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada C1A 4P3. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oxidative stress is an important element in the etiology of ischemic stroke. Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton) have a high antioxidant capacity and thus we determined whether consumption of lowbush blueberries would protect neurons from stroke-induced damage. Rats were fed AIN-93G diets containing 0 or 14.3% blueberries (g fresh weight/100 g feed) for 6 weeks. Stroke was then simulated by ligation of the left common carotid artery (ischemia), followed by hypoxia.
One week later, plasma and urine were collected, and neuronal damage in the hippocampus was determined histologically. In control rats, hypoxia-ischemia resulted in 40 +/- 2% loss of neurons in the hippocampus of the left cerebral hemisphere, as compared to the right hemisphere. Rats on blueberry-supplemented diets lost only 17 +/- 2% of neurons in the ischemic hippocampus.
Neuroprotection was observed in the CA1 and CA2 regions, but not CA3 region, of the hippocampus. The blueberry diet had no detectable effects on the plasma or urine oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) or plasma lipids. We conclude that consumption of lowbush blueberries by rats confers protection to the brain against damage from ischemia, suggesting that inclusion of blueberries in the diet may improve ischemic stroke outcomes.