Anticancer effects of Bilberry anthocyanins compared with NutraNanoSphere encapsulated Bilberry anthocyanins
- Seth P. Thibado
- Jerry T. Thornthwaite
- Thomas K. Ballard
- Brandon T. Goodman
Published online on: November 29, 2017
Rapidly accumulating laboratory and clinical research evidence indicates that anthocyanins exhibit anticancer activity and the evaluation of bilberry anthocyanins as chemo‑preventive agents is progressing. It has previously been demonstrated that anthocyanins upregulate tumor suppressor genes, induce apoptosis in cancer cells, repair and protect genomic DNA integrity, which is important in reducing age‑associated oxidative stress, and improve neuronal and cognitive brain function. Bilberry anthocyanins have pronounced health effects, even though they have a low bioavailability. To increase the bioavailability, Bilberry was encapsulated in 5.5 nm diameter liposomal micelles, called NutraNanoSpheres (NNS), at a concentration of 2.5 mg/50 µl [25% (w/w) anthocyanins]. These Bilberry NNS were used to study the apoptotic/cytotoxic effects on K562 Human Erythroleukemic cancer cells. Flow cytometric fluorescent quantification of the uptake of propidium iodide in a special cell viability formulation into dead K562 cells was used to determine the effects of Bilberry on the viability of K562 cells. The concentrations of Bilberry that demonstrated the greatest levels of percentage inhibition, relative to the control populations, were biphasic, revealing a 60‑70% inhibition between 0.018‑1.14 mg/ml (n=6) and 60% inhibition at 4 mg/ml. The lowest percentage inhibition (30%) occurred at 2 mg/ml. The lethal dose 50 was determined to be 0.01‑0.04 mg/ml of Bilberry per 105 K562 cells at 72 h of cell culture exposure. At 48 h incubation, the highest percentage of inhibition was only 27%, suggesting involvement of a long‑term apoptotic event. These levels, which demonstrated direct cytotoxic effects, were 8‑40 times lower than levels required for Bilberry that is not encapsulated. The increase in bioavailability with the Bilberry NNS and its water solubility demonstrated the feasibility of using Bilberry NNS in cancer patient clinical trials.