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Cytotoxic Effect of Anthocyanin-Rich Extract of Bilberry on MCF7-GFP-Tubulin Cells

Choong Jae Lee*1,2, Vy Nguyen*1, Jessica Tang1, Emin Oroudjev1,

Cecilia Marasigan1, Leslie Wilson1 and George Ayoub1

 1Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California  and  2Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea

 *These authors contributed equally to this paper.


 Short title:  Bilberry anticancer activity



 Bilberry (European blueberry) has been reported to have many biological effects including anticancer activity. In this study, we investigated the anti-mitotic effects of bilberry extract in relation to inhibition of proliferation of MCF7 human breast cancer cells.  We observed that: (1) Bilberry extract inhibited cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent fashion with an IC50 of 0.43 mg/ml.  (2) The mitotic spindles were damaged by the extract and there was a slight accumulation at the G2/M phase. (3) Tubulin aggregated in punctate spots in the cytoplasm as the bilberry extract concentration exceeded the IC50. (4) Bilberry extract induced apoptosis.  We conclude that bilberry extract as ingested by humans, not just the purified anthocyanins it contains, inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells.


 We thank Roy Mankovitz for providing the funding for this study.  The use of cyanins in sunscreen applications is covered by U.S. Patent 6,783,754.  The contact for licensing opportunities is:  Roy Mankovitz, Director, Montecito Wellness LLC, 1482, East Valley Rd, Suite 808, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, 1-805-969-4604, roy@montecitowellness.com.