Blueberry Extract May Offer A New Treatment Option For Chronic Inflammation

March 24, 2021

Blueberry Extract May Offer A New Treatment Option

For Chronic Inflammation

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I believe that everyone has had the experience of "inflammation", especially by trauma, bleeding, or pathogen infection and other stimulation, will show signs of swelling, fever, pain and other symptoms. This is actually the result of local vascular dilation and increased blood flow caused by various inflammatory factors, as well as the infiltration of immune cells into infected tissues.


In general, inflammation is beneficial, the body's natural defense response, and a natural process essential for the body's immune system to heal wounds, infections, or remove toxins. And in special cases, long-term inflammation hidden in muscles, bones, skin and even nerves can cause harm to the body, and even cause death.


Fifty percent of all deaths are linked to inflammation


The normal inflammatory process typically follows a "destruction-remodeling-healing" process, in which the body is damaged by the use of pro-inflammatory compounds and then repaired by the use of anti-inflammatory compounds. But when the inflammatory process goes awry, the immune system constantly releases pro-inflammatory compounds that attack the body's tissues and cells, leading to a variety of physical conditions.


Inflammation can be divided into acute and chronic according to the duration. Acute inflammation can cause redness, swelling and pain in the body parts, which is mainly caused by the reaction of the vascular system. Usually, acute inflammation is a positive function of the immune system, which removes harmful substances from the body and heals damaged tissue. But others experience inflammation that lingers for a long time, progressing from acute to chronic, thus increasing a person's risk of developing a serious illness.


Relevant studies have confirmed that patients with chronic inflammatory diseases who have been in a state of inflammation for a long time tend to have a higher risk of diseases such as metabolism and senile diseases. Scientists from 22 of the world's top medical institutions, including UCLA, studied the increased risk of death and biomarker burden of disease and found that low levels of chronic inflammation were associated with an increased risk of disease in all major internal organs. Inflammation-related diseases account for 50% of all deaths worldwide, so chronic inflammation should be prevented, diagnosed and treated early, they added.


The FASEB Journal reports that blueberry extract shows great potential in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Blueberries contain a polyphenolic compound called pterostilbene, which has been shown in clinical studies to provide a potential treatment strategy for chronic inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Blueberry extract may improve inflammatory bowel disease

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Resveratrol (RSV) has been considered to have significant immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects on animal models of colitis. In recent years, a similar compound has been found in blueberries. As a common fruit, it is also one of the fruits with the richest antioxidant activity.


Pterosporins (3 ',5 '‐ dimethoxy ‐ resveratrol) (PSB), a polyphenolic compound found in blueberries, act in the same way as resveratrol (RSV) and have strong immunosuppressive properties, opening up the possibility of novel therapies for IBD, according to a study from the Tokyo University of Science published in the FASEB Journal.


Especially for people with IBD, the body's over-strong immune response causes chronic inflammation, leading to long-term symptoms of ulcers in the gastrointestinal lining. The researchers found that those involved in this inflammatory process include dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells. At the onset of an immune response, DCS produces inflammatory cytokines and activates T cells to initiate a defense response, resulting in an overreaction.


Therefore, looking for "bioactive" components that can suppress the immune system from natural foods can better prevent and improve the occurrence and development of major immune diseases in advance.


The effects of a variety of plant-derived compounds on DC-mediated T cell proliferation were observed. In an in vitro co-culture system, PSB from blueberry was found to have the strongest inhibitory effect on DC-mediated T cell proliferation among all resveratrol derivatives tested.

As further studies showed, PSB treatment reduced the number of Th1 and Th17 cells and increased the number of regulatory T cells (Treg). Under the co-stimulation of anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies, PSB inhibited the proliferation and differentiation of CD4+T cells into Th1 cells. They also observed that PSB inhibited the production of inflammatory cytokines by DC by reducing the DNA-binding capacity of transcription factor PU.1, resulting in the reduction of LPS-induced antigen presentation related molecules and the inactivation of inflammatory cytokine genes.


Further testing of PSB in mice with inflammatory bowel disease showed that oral PSB improved IBD symptoms. At the same time, the ingredient is easily absorbed by the body because it comes naturally from food. Thus, pterosporins (3 ',5 '‐ dimethoxy ‐ resveratrol) found in blueberries have been identified as polyphenolic compounds with strong immunosuppressive properties, particularly against chronic inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).



Chronic inflammation as a silent "killer", its differential diagnosis must look at cytokines and other molecular diagnostic indicators, so it is difficult to be found in routine experience. At the same time, chronic inflammation rarely causes any visible external problems, so inflammatory cytokines can remain in the body for decades without being detected in advance. Such conditions lead to chronic low-grade inflammation that is not standard enough for diagnosis as a disease.


But "Rome was not built in a day", all the occurrence and development of diseases are cumulative, imperceptible results. For example, IBD, as a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract, is closely related to the change of people's living habits, dietary structure and living environment.


Although the incidence of inflammatory diseases represented by IBD continues to rise, the pathogenesis of IBD is still unclear. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop preventive methods and novel treatment strategies to improve the status quo of patients with IBD. As can be seen from the above studies, PSB in blueberry extract can improve the symptoms of IBD and play a positive role in regulating the immune response and homeostasis in vivo, which can be used as a promising anti-inflammatory drug.

It is important to note that PSB not only provides a new, natural treatment for IBD, but also paves the way for the treatment of other inflammatory diseases.


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