Hypoglycemic activity of a novel anthocyanin-rich formulation from lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton

Phytomedicine. 2009 May;16(5):406-15. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.02.018. Epub 2009 Mar 20.


Blueberry fruits are known as a rich source of anthocyanin components. In this study we demonstrate that anthocyanins from blueberry have the potency to alleviate symptoms of hyperglycemia in diabetic C57b1/6J mice. The anti-diabetic activity of different anthocyanin-related extracts was evaluated using the pharmaceutically acceptable self-microemulsifying drug delivery system: Labrasol. Treatment by gavage (500 mg/kg body wt) with a phenolic-rich extract and an anthocyanin-enriched fraction formulated with Labrasol lowered elevated blood glucose levels by 33 and 51%, respectively. The hypoglycemic activities of these formulae were comparable to that of the known anti-diabetic drug metformin (27% at 300 mg/kg). The extracts were not significantly hypoglycemic when administered without Labrasol, demonstrating its bio-enhancing effect, most likely due to increasing the bioavailability of the administered preparations. The phenolic-rich extract contained 287.0+/-9.7 mg/g anthocyanins, while the anthocyanin-enriched fraction contained 595+/-20.0 mg/g (cyanidin-3-glucoside equivalents), as measured by HPLC and pH differential analysis methods. The greater hypoglycemic activity of the anthocyanin-enriched fraction compared to the initial phenolic-rich extract suggested that the activity was due to the anthocyanin components. Treatment by gavage (300 mg/kg) with the pure anthocyanins, delphinidin-3-O-glucoside and malvidin-3-O-glucoside, formulated with Labrasol, showed that malvidin-3-O-glucoside was significantly hypoglycemic while delphinidin-3-O-glucoside was not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glucosides / analysis
  • Glucosides / pharmacology
  • Glycerides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organic Chemicals / administration & dosage
  • Organic Chemicals / pharmacology
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucosides
  • Glycerides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Labrasol
  • delphinidin 3-O-glucopyranoside
  • malvidin-3-glucoside