Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2016


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Previous studies suggest that a diet high in blueberries correlates with lower rates of heart disease and improved endothelial cell function. Anthocyanins, which are phenolic compounds, are known components of wild blueberry extracts. Studies suggest that cells treated with anthocyanins have increased migration and increased VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) production. VEGF activates a signal cascade that ultimate leads to the activation of Hsp27 (heat-shock protein 27) and LIMK (LIM-kinase). Cofilin, which is phosphorylated by LIMK, is an important protein involved in cellular migration, and plays a role in regulating actin dynamics, enabling migration. Activated Hsp27 and deactivated cofilin work in concert to facilitate migration. Paxillin is an important protein involved in focal adhesion structures, which attach to the surrounding extra cellular matrix and allow for cell motility. Based on this knowledge it was postulated that bovine aortic endothelial cells treated with 20μg/mL anthocyanins would have increased concentrations of phosphorylated cofilin and a change in paxillin concentrations. This study found that cells treated with 20μg/mL anthocyanins for 2 and 3 hours had increased perimeters and increased filopodia formation. BAECs treated with anthocyanins for 3 hours were stalled in cytokinesis resulting in multinucleated cells and cells with fragmented nuclei. Changes in concentrations of cofilin, p-cofilin, paxillin, and actin were not significant. This study suggested that anthocyanin treatment affected cellular actin dynamics, but did not affect phosphorylated cofilin concentrations.

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