Phenolic and anthocyanin fractions from wild blueberries (V. angustifolium) differentially modulate endothelial cell migration partially through RHOA and RAC1

J Cell Biochem. 2019 Jan 30. doi: 10.1002/jcb.28383. Online ahead of print.


The present study investigates the effect of anthocyanin (ACN), phenolic acid (PA) fractions, and their combination (ACNs:PAs) from wild blueberry powder (Vaccinum angustifolium) on the speed of endothelial cell migration, gene expression, and protein levels of RAC1 and RHOA associated with acute exposure to different concentrations of ACNs and PAs. Time-lapse videos were analyzed and endothelial cell speed was calculated. Treatment with ACNs at 60 μg/mL inhibited endothelial cell migration rate ( P ≤ 0.05) while treatment with PAs at 0.002 μg/mL ( P ≤ 0.0001), 60 μg/mL ( P ≤ 0.0001), and 120 μg/mL ( P ≤ 0.01) significantly increased endothelial cell migration rate compared with control. Moreover, exposure of HUVECs to ACNs:PAs at 8:8 μg/mL ( P ≤ 0.05) and 60:60 μg/mL increased ( P ≤ 0.001) endothelial cell migration. Gene expression of RAC1 and RHOA significantly increased 2 hours after exposure with all treatments. No effect of the above fractions was observed on the protein levels of RAC1 and RHOA. Findings suggest that endothelial cell migration is differentially modulated based on the type of blueberry extract (ACN or PA fraction) and is concentration-dependent. Future studies should determine the mechanism of the differential action of the above fractions on endothelial cell migration.

Keywords: RAC1; RHOA; anthocyanins (ACN); cell migration; human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs); phenolic acids (PAs); wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium).