British Journal of Nutrition


Oil & Gas

Biotransformed blueberry juice protects neurons from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway alterations

Tri Vuonga1a2a3, Chantal Matara2a3, Charles Ramassamya2a4 and Pierre S. Haddada1a2 c1

a1 Natural Health Products and Metabolic Diseases Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology and Montreal Diabetes Research Center, University of Montreal, PO Box 6128, Downtown Station, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7

a2 Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada

a3 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

a4 INRS-Institute Armand-Frappier, Laval, QC, Canada


A growing body of evidence supports the therapeutic effects of blueberry in neurodegenerative disorders. Biotransformation of blueberry juice by Serratia vaccinii bacteria increases its phenolic content and antioxidant activity. In neuronal cell culture, biotransformed blueberry juice (BJ) significantly increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes, namely catalase and superoxide dismutase. Moreover, BJ protected neurons against H2O2-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner. This associated with the upregulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family enzymes p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation, as well as with the protection of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK1/2) activity loss induced by H2O2. The present studies demonstrate that BJ can protect neurons against oxidative stress possibly by increasing antioxidant enzyme activities and activating p38- and JNK-dependent survival pathways while blocking MEK1/2- and ERK1/2-mediated cell death. Thus, BJ may represent a novel approach to prevent and to treat neurodegenerative disorders, and it may represent a source of novel therapeutic agents against these diseases.

(Received January 26 2010)

(Revised March 08 2010)

(Accepted March 09 2010)

(Online publication May 12 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Pierre S. Haddad, fax +1 514 343 2291, email


Abbreviations: BJ, biotransformed blueberry juice; CAT, catalase; ERK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase; JNK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; MEK, MAPK/ERK kinase; SOD, superoxide dismutase; NJ, normal blueberry juice; TBST, Tris-buffered saline Tween-20; WST-1, water-soluble tetrazolium salt-1