Safety and whole-body antioxidant potential of a novel anthocyanin-rich formulation of edible berries

Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Jan;281(1-2):197-209. doi: 10.1007/s11010-006-1030-6.


Edible berry extracts rich in anthocyanins possess a broad spectrum of therapeutic, pharmacologic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Six berry extracts (wild blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seeds and strawberry), singly and in combination, were studied in our laboratories for antioxidant efficacy, cytotoxic potential, cellular uptake and anti-angiogenic properties. Combinations of edible berry extracts were evaluated to develop a synergistic formula, OptiBerry, which exhibited high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value, low cytotoxicity and superior anti-angiogenic properties compared to the other combinations tested. The current study sought to determine the broad spectrum safety and antioxidant potential of OptiBerry in vivo. Acute oral LD(50) of OptiBerry was greater than 5 g/kg in rats. Acute dermal LD(50) of OptiBerry was greater than 2 g/kg. No changes in the body weight or adverse effects were observed following necropsy. Primary skin and eye irritation studies were conducted in New Zealand albino rabbits. OptiBerry was classified as slightly irritating to the skin (primary skin irritation index 0.3) and minimally irritating to the eye (maximum mean total score 6.0). The antioxidant potential of OptiBerry was investigated in rats and mice by assessing GSH redox status in tissues as well as by a unique state-of-the-art electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) imaging of whole-body redox status. A clinically relevant hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) exposure system (2 atm, 2 h) was employed to study the antioxidant properties of OptiBerry. OptiBerry feeding (8 weeks) significantly prevented HBO-induced GSH oxidation in the lung and liver of vitamin E-deficient Sprague Dawley rats. Furthermore, OptiBerry-fed mice, when exposed to HBO, demonstrated significant protection in whole-body HBO-induced oxidation compared to the unfed controls by EPR imaging. Taken together, these results indicate that OptiBerry is reasonably safe and possess antioxidant properties.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / physiology*
  • Anthocyanins / toxicity*
  • Antioxidants / physiology*
  • Antioxidants / toxicity*
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Eye / drug effects
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fruit / physiology*
  • Fruit / toxicity*
  • Irritants / toxicity
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Irritants