Physiological Concentrations of Blueberry-Derived Phenolic Acids Reduce Monocyte Adhesion to Human Endothelial Cells

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2019 Sep;63(18):e1900478. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201900478. Epub 2019 Jun 28.


Scope: Blueberry polyphenols are thought to confer cardiovascular health benefits, but have limited bioavailability. They undergo extensive metabolism and their phenolic acid metabolites are likely to be the mediators of bioactivity. The effect of blueberry-derived phenolic acids on one aspect of inflammation, monocyte adhesion to vascular endothelial cells, is investigated.

Methods and results: The major blueberry-derived phenolic acids in human plasma are identified and quantified. Three test mixtures representing compounds present at 0-4 h (Early), 4-24 h (Late), or 0-24 h (Whole) are used to investigate the effect on adhesion of monocytes to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)-activated endothelial cells. The Late mixture reduces monocyte adhesion, but there is no effect of the Early or Whole mixtures. Exclusion of syringic acid from each mixture results in inhibition of monocyte adhesion. Exposure to the phenolic acid mixtures has no effect on the endothelial surface expression of adhesion molecules intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), or E-selectin, suggesting that other molecular mechanisms are responsible for the observed effect.

Conclusion: This study shows that physiological concentrations of blueberry polyphenol metabolites can help maintain cardiovascular health by regulating monocyte adhesion to the vascular endothelium.

Keywords: blueberry metabolites; endothelial cells; monocyte adhesion; phenolic acids; vascular inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blueberry Plants / chemistry*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gallic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Gallic Acid / pharmacology
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybenzoates / blood*
  • Hydroxybenzoates / isolation & purification
  • Hydroxybenzoates / pharmacology*
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Gallic Acid
  • syringic acid
  • phenolic acid