Gene Polymorphism and Phytochemical Effects

The article to be reviewed is the 2014 article “Can Transcriptomics Provide Insight into the Chemopreventive Mechanisms of Complex Mixtures of Phytochemicals in Humans” written by Van Breda et al. The article is based on the four-week intervention for consumption of blueberry-apple juice by the 143-person study group. Its main purpose was to investigate the changes that occur in lymphocyte genome gene. The study was conducted due to the lack of useful information on how exactly the phytochemicals present in blueberries act on their chemopreventative properties.

Phytochemicals discussed in the article are complex mixtures of phytochemicals that can be found in blueberry-apple juice and may include the caffeic acid derivative, chlorogenic acid, quercetine, peonidine, delphinidine, malvidine, pelargonidine, and cyanidine.1 The antioxidant properties of the listed components are directly influenced by the genetic pathways as well as various processes occurring in genes.

Subjects included in two study groups had genetic polymorphisms, which had already been proven to have an effect on the chemopreventative response. Individuals included in the subgroups carried various types of genetic polymorphism that had a direct effect on the biotransformation and responses to antioxidants. During the investigation, it was found that separate individuals from the study group carried the mutant genotype or the wild-type of polymorphisms that affected the response on antioxidants. Furthermore, in the course of the intervention, the scientists found different types of polymorphisms present in either XRCCI or GSTTI genes.1 Thus, polymorphism present in these genes was determined to possess a strong chemopreventive response.

The study found the previously unidentified genes that played a role in particular signaling pathways occurring in cellular processes and, subsequently, contributing to a number of chronic illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.1 Such a result has proven that the study of dietary intervention in humans is a potentially beneficial approach that can be implemented to eliminate the oxidative stress thus giving more thorough information about various health effects induced by phytochemicals in humans.

The most important findings of the study relate to the molecular pathways that responded to the blueberry-apple juice dietary intervention. The response can be summarized in the following table:

Apoptosis To show connections between the genes that relate to apoptosis, the study has created a particular network, which included various biological processes. The study has shown the increase in ligands (FASLIG, ILIB, IFN) as a result of the investigated dietary intervention.
Immune response The study has found various expressions for the genes responsible for encoding receptors and cytokines. Such genes played a role in the mediation of signaling pathways crucial for homeostasis, control of growth, and regulation of development.
Cell adhesion As a result of the intervention various cell surface receptors changed. These receptors transfer signals to the cell through PIK3, G-protein, tyrosine signaling, and others.
Lipid metabolism The modulated PPCKM, G6PC, and PDH beta genes have proven to be involved in the process of glucose metabolism, which may result in the possible ability to reduce instances of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Thus, the study has shown that the dietary intervention, which included the consumption of blueberry-apple juice in study groups carrying genetic polymorphisms potentially has beneficial properties. Because the pathway analysis of particular genes presented in the study found positive changes in apoptosis, lipid metabolism, cell adhesion, as well as immune response, the consumption of blueberry-apple juice can be a beneficial “take-home” practice.


Van Breda SGJ, Wilms LC, Gaj S, Jennen DGJ, Briede JJ, Helsper JP, Kleinjans JCS, de Kok TM. Can transcriptomics provide insight into the chemopreventive mechanisms of complex mixtures of phytochemicals in humans? Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2014; 20(14): 2107-2113. Web.

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