Absorption of anthocyanins from blueberry extracts by caco-2 human intestinal cell monolayers

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jul 26;54(15):5651-8. doi: 10.1021/jf0531959.


Recent studies have shown that dietary polyphenols may contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Anthocyanins from different plant sources including blueberries have been shown to possess potential anticancer activities. One of the key factors needed to correctly relate the in vitro study results to human disease outcomes is information about bioavailability. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate the absorption of blueberry anthocyanin extracts using Caco-2 human intestinal cell monolayers and investigate the effects of different aglycones, sugar moieties, and chemical structure on bioavailability of different types of anthocyanins. The results of this study showed that anthocyanins from blueberries could be transported through the Caco-2 cell monolayers although the transport/absorption efficiency was relatively low compared to other aglycone polyphenols. The transport efficiency of anthocyanins averaged approximately 3-4% [less than 1% in delphinidin glucoside (Dp-glc)]. No significant difference in transport/absorption efficiency was observed among three blueberry cultivars. The observed trends among different anthocyanins generally agreed well with some published in vivo results. Dp-glc showed the lowest transport/absorption efficiency, and malvidin glucoside (Mv-glc) showed the highest transport/absorption efficiency. Our result indicates that more free hydroxyl groups and less OCH(3) groups can decrease the bioavailability of anthocyanins. In addition, cyanindin glucoside (Cy-glc) showed significantly higher transport efficiency than cyanidin galactoside (Cy-gal), and peonidin glucoside (Pn-glc) showed significantly higher transport efficiency than peonidin galactoside (Pn-gal), indicating that glucose-based anthocyanins have higher bioavailability than galactose-based anthocyanins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / metabolism
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biological Availability
  • Biological Transport
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Vaccinium / chemistry*


  • Anthocyanins