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Protection of human erythrocytes against oxidative stress by berries


Berries contain several bioactive compounds that can protect against oxidative stress. In this study we evaluated the protective effect of different sequential extracts (ethyl acetate, ethanol and water) of seven berry species: bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum), elderberry (Sambucus nigra), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), rose hips (Rosa sp.), sea buckthorn (Hippohae rhamnoides) and strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa). The protective effect was tested on human erythrocytes and the antioxidant capacity was also evaluated in vitro by the FRAP assay. In the erythrocyte assay all sea buckthorn extracts were superior in antioxidant effect to other berry extracts. The ethyl acetate extract of bilberries, and the ethanol and water extracts of blackcurrants, also protected the erythrocytes from oxidation. In contrast, water extracts of rose hips, bilberries and strawberries had a pro-oxidant effect on erythrocytes. The water extract of rose hips was superior to the other berry extracts in the FRAP assay. Thus, the results of the erythrocyte assay did not correlate with the results of the FRAP assay, but provided additional insights into the potential protective effects of berry extracts against oxidative stress.