The protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against UV light-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage in vitro

J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Oct 30;61(43):10345-53. doi: 10.1021/jf402772h. Epub 2013 Oct 16.


Bilberry extract (B-ext) and lingonberry extract (L-ext) are currently used as health supplements. We investigated the protective mechanisms of the B-ext and L-ext against ultraviolet A (UVA)-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage. Cultured murine photoreceptor (661W) cells were exposed to UVA following treatment with B-ext and L-ext and their main constituents (cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, trans-resveratrol, and procyanidin). B-ext, L-ext, and constituents improved cell viability and suppressed ROS generation. Phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and protein kinase B (Akt) were analyzed by Western blotting. B-ext and cyanidin inhibited phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, and B-ext also inhibited phosphorylation of JNK by UVA. L-ext, trans-resveratrol, and procyanidin alleviated the reduction of phosphorylated Akt levels by UVA. Finally, a cotreatment with B-ext and L-ext showed an additive effect on cell viability. Our findings suggest that both B-ext and L-ext endow protective effects against UVA-induced retinal damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / cytology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / drug effects*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / enzymology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / radiation effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Vaccinium myrtillus / chemistry*
  • Vaccinium vitis-idaea / chemistry*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases