Dietary Blueberries Attenuate Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E-Deficient Mice by Upregulating Antioxidant Enzyme Expression
Protective effects of blueberries (BB) against atherosclerosis and potential underlying mechanisms in reducing oxidative stress were examined in apoE-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice. ApoE(-/-) mice were fed an AIN-93G diet (CD) or CD formulated to contain 1% freeze-dried whole BB for 20 wk. The mean lesion area for apoE(-/-) mice fed BB was reduced by 39% (P < 0.001) in the aorta sinus and 58% (P < 0.001) in the descending aorta compared with CD-fed mice. These atheroprotective effects were independent of the serum lipid profile or total antioxidant capacity (as measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity). The concentration of a biomarker of lipid peroxidation, F(2)-isoprostane, was lower in liver of BB-fed mice (P < 0.05). Genes analyzed by RT-PCR array showed that 4 major antioxidant enzymes in aorta [superoxide dismutase (SOD) 1, SOD2, glutathione reductase (GSR), and thioredoxin reductase 1] were upregulated in BB-fed mice. Enzyme activities of SOD and GSR were greater (P < 0.05) in liver and/or serum of BB-fed mice than those of CD-fed mice. In addition, serum paraoxonase 1 activity in serum of BB-fed mice was also greater than that of CD-fed mice (P < 0.05) at the end of the study. These results suggest a protective effectiveness of BB against atherosclerosis in this apoE(-/-) mouse model. The potential mechanisms may involve reduction in oxidative stress by both inhibition of lipid peroxidation and enhancement of antioxidant defense.