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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2004 (2004), Issue 5, Pages 306-313
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/S111072430440401X
Mini-Review Article

Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach

Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences, College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Received 2 April 2004; Revised 10 May 2004; Accepted 12 May 2004

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Anthocyanin pigments and associated flavonoids have demonstrated ability to protect against a myriad of human diseases, yet they have been notoriously difficult to study with regard to human health. Anthocyanins frequently interact with other phytochemicals to potentiate biological effects, thus contributions from individual components are difficult to decipher. The complex, multicomponent structure of compounds in a bioactive mixture and the degradation of flavonoids during harsh extraction procedures obscure the precise assignment of bioactivity to individual pigments. Extensive metabolic breakdown after ingestion complicates tracking of anthocyanins to assess absorption, bioavailability, and accumulation in various organs. Anthocyanin pigments and other flavonoids that are uniformly, predictably produced in rigorously controlled plant cell culture systems can be a great advantage for health and nutrition research because they are quickly, easily isolated, lack interferences found in whole fruits, can be elicited to provoke rapid and prolific accumulation, and are amenable to biolabeling so that metabolic fate can be investigated after ingestion.