Background: Chemopreventive effects and the underlying mechanisms of blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) are not clearly understood in human. We hypothesized blueberry would work via antioxidative and epigenetic modulation, which is similar to vitamin C.
Methods: We performed a pilot and non-inferiority study in healthy young women (n = 12), who consumed vitamin C (1 g/d) or 240 mL of blueberry juice (total polyphenols 300 mg and proanthocyanidin 76 mg/d) for 2 weeks. We analyzed 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in their urine, and global and specific DNA methylation at the NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), or DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) genes in their blood.
Results: Urinary 8-OHdG levels were reduced by blueberry consumption rather than by vitamin C. The methylation (%) of the MTHFR was significantly decreased in blueberry-consumers and the antioxidant-susceptible subgroup, whose urinary MDA levels were decreased by the intervention. We also found a positive correlation between changes of urinary 8-OHdG and of DNA methylation at the MTHFR or the DNMT1 (P < 0.05). However, the genetic polymorphism of the MTHFR (C677T in exon 4) did not affect any above markers.
Conclusions: Blueberry juice shows similar anti-oxidative or anti-premutagenic activity to vitamin C and the potential as a methylation inhibitor for the MTHFR and the DNMT1 in human.