European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 171–182 | Cite as

Anthocyanins and phenolic acids from a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) powder counteract lipid accumulation in THP-1-derived macrophages

  • Cristian Del Bo’
  • Yi Cao
  • Martin Roursgaard
  • Patrizia Riso
  • Marisa Porrini
  • Steffen Loft
  • Peter Møller
Original Contribution



Blueberries are a rich source of anthocyanins (ACNs) and phenolic acids (PA), which are hypothesized to protect against development of atherosclerosis. The present study examined the effect of an ACN- and PA-rich fractions, obtained from a wild blueberry powder, on the capacity to counteract lipid accumulation in macrophages derived from monocytic THP-1 cells. In addition, we tested the capacity of pure ACNs and their metabolites to alter lipid accumulation.


THP-1-derived macrophages were incubated with fatty acids (500 μM oleic/palmitic acid, 2:1 ratio) and different concentrations (from 0.05 to 10 μg mL−1) of ACN- and PA-rich fractions, pure ACN standards (malvidin, delphinidin and cyanidin 3-glucoside), and metabolites (syringic, gallic and protocatechuic acids). Lipid accumulation was quantified with the fluorescent dye Nile red.


Lipid accumulation was reduced at all concentrations of the ACN-rich fraction tested with a maximum reduction at 10 μg mL−1 (−27.4 %; p < 0.0001). The PA-rich fraction significantly reduced the lipid accumulation only at the low concentrations from 0.05 µg mL−1 to 0.3 µg mL−1, with respect to the control with fatty acids. Supplementation with pure ACN compounds (malvidin and delphinidin-3-glucoside and its metabolic products (syringic and gallic acid)) reduced lipid accumulation especially at the low concentrations, while no significant effect was observed after cyanidin-3-glucoside and protocatechuic acid supplementation.


The results demonstrated a potential role of both the ACN- and PA-rich fractions and single compounds in the lipid accumulation also at concentrations close to that achievable in vivo.


Wild blueberry Polyphenols THP-1 macrophages Lipid accumulation 


Conflict of interest

None of the authors had a personal or financial conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristian Del Bo’
    • 1
  • Yi Cao
    • 2
  • Martin Roursgaard
    • 2
  • Patrizia Riso
    • 1
  • Marisa Porrini
    • 1
  • Steffen Loft
    • 2
  • Peter Møller
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences–Division of Human NutritionUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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