Consumption of a Blueberry-Enriched Diet by Women for 6 Weeks Alters Determinants of Human Muscle Progenitor Cell Function

J Nutr. 2020 Sep 1;150(9):2412-2418. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa190.


Background: Human muscle progenitor cell (hMPC) function facilitates skeletal muscle regeneration and is influenced by circulating factors. Yet it is unknown whether dietary interventions impact hMPC function. Blueberry consumption was examined due to the pro-proliferative and antioxidant effects of blueberries and blueberry-derived compounds.

Objectives: This study measured indicators of hMPC function in young and old cultures treated with serum collected from a blueberry-enriched diet (BED) intervention.

Methods: Younger (21-40 y, n = 12) and older (60-79 y, n = 10) women consumed a 6-wk BED (38 g of freeze-dried blueberries daily). Fasting serum was collected at 0, 4, and 6 wk, and a fed serum sample at 1.5 h (acute) after starting the BED intervention. Young and old hMPCs, derived from 3-5 distinct donors (biological replicates), were individually cultured in media containing pooled, age-group-matched serum from each time point. Determinants of hMPC function (e.g., hMPC number, oxidative stress resistance, and upregulation of metabolic pathways) were measured and compared within age groups.

Results: Culturing young hMPCs in acute (compared with 0 wk) BED serum did not alter hMPC number or oxidative stress-induced cell death, but increased cellular oxygen consumption (29%, P = 0.026). Culturing young hMPCs in 6-wk (compared with 0-wk) BED serum increased hMPC number (40%, P = 0.0024), conferred minor resistance to oxidative stress-induced cell death (12.6 percentage point decrease, P = 0.10), and modestly increased oxygen consumption (36%, P = 0.09). No beneficial effect of the acute or long-term BED serum was observed in old hMPCs.

Conclusions: In younger women, dietary interventions could be a feasible strategy to improve hMPC function and thus muscle regeneration, through altering the serum environment.This study was registered at (NCT04262258).

Keywords: antioxidant; blueberry; muscle progenitor cell; muscle regeneration; muscle stem cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myoblasts / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • SIRT1 protein, human
  • Sirtuin 1

Associated data