Identification of Anthocyanin Components of Wild Chinese Blueberries and Amelioration of Light-Induced Retinal Damage in Pigmented Rabbit Using Whole Berries

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jan 12;59(1):356-63. doi: 10.1021/jf103852s. Epub 2010 Dec 13.


Studies suggest that the consumption of berry fruits rich in anthocyanins may have beneficial effects on improving visual function. This study determined the total polyphenol and total anthocyanin contents in wild Chinese blueberries using the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent method and a pH differential method. Anthocyanin composition and quantity were characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry coupled with mass selective detection. Total polyphenol and anthocyanin contents were 602.9 ± 9.2 and 177.8 ± 8.3 mg/100 g, respectively. Seventeen anthocyanins were discovered, and only 13 were tentatively identified in the wild blueberries. Anthocyanins of malvidin glycosylated with hexose or pentose accounted for >46% of total anthocyanin content. Furthermore, the effect of whole blueberries on retinal damage in pigmented rabbits upon light exposure was investigated, and the retinal functions were evaluated by electroretinogram (ERG). Pigmented rabbits were chosen for this experiment because of their large eyes, which facilitated the operative procedure and observation, and the similarity of their eyes to the human eye structure. Light-induced retinal damage was induced by exposure to white light at 15000 ± 1000 lx for 2 h. Feeding the rabbits with blueberries at a dosage of 1.2 or 4.9 g/kg/day for 4 weeks prior to light exposure effectively reduced photodamage to the retinas. This study adds to the growing body of data supporting the bioactivity of blueberries in improving mammal vision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use*
  • Blueberry Plants / chemistry*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Pigmentation
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Retina / injuries
  • Retina / radiation effects*
  • Retinal Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Plant Extracts