Although antioxidant systems help control the level of reactive oxygen species they may be overwhelmed during periods of oxidative stress. Evidence suggests that oxidative stress components as well as inflammatory mediators may be involved in the pathogenesis of vascular disorders, where localized markers of oxidative damage have been found. In this regard we investigated the putative antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of blueberry and cranberry anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids against H(2)O(2) and TNFalpha induced damage to human microvascular endothelial cells. Polyphenols from both berries were able to localize into endothelial cells subsequently reducing endothelial cells vulnerability to increased oxidative stress at both the membrane and cytosol level. Furthermore, berry polyphenols also reduced TNFalpha induced up-regulation of various inflammatory mediators (IL-8, MCP-1 and ICAM-1) involved in the recruitment of leukocytes to sites of damage or inflammation along the endothelium. In conclusion, polyphenols isolated from both blueberry and cranberry were able to afford protection to endothelial cells against stressor induced up-regulation of oxidative and inflammatory insults. This may have beneficial actions against the initiation and development of vascular diseases and be a contributing factor in the reduction of age-related deficits in neurological impairments previously reported by us.