Effect of blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum) extract on depressive-like behavior and metabolic serum alterations in lipopolysaccharide-challenged mice

J Food Biochem. 2021 Oct;45(10):e13920. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13920. Epub 2021 Sep 12.


In the present study, we aimed to investigate the protective effect of blueberry extract on behavioral, biochemical, and morphological changes in an experimental model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced depressive behavior. Male Swiss mice were pretreated with the vehicle, fluoxetine (20 mg/kg), or Vaccinium virgatum extract (100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg) for seven days. On day 7, the animals were administered an LPS injection (0.83 mg/kg) or vehicle. Pretreatment with blueberry extract prevented LPS-induced depressive-like behavior. Moreover, LPS increased serum levels of total cholesterol; however, V. virgatum did not prevent the increase in total cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the extract prevented the LPS-induced elevation in serum reactive oxygen species. Also, V. virgatum extract increased the HDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, this extract prevented the LPS-induced decrease in glucose levels and serum adenosine deaminase activity. Collectively, V. virgatum extract has a potential protective effect against changes similar to those observed in patients with depression. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Vaccinium virgatum, popularly known as blueberry, has been effective in preventing or treating neuropsychiatric diseases owing to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. Fluoxetine is a known drug used to treat depression; however, its adverse effects result in therapeutic non-adherence. Thus, the search for new natural compounds possessing antidepressant activities while lacking adverse effects is crucial for identifying novel therapeutic alternatives against depression.

Keywords: LPS; blood glucose; blueberry; depression; lipid profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Plant Extracts