Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Principal Investigator: Bethany Cummings

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Email:; Phone: 607-253-3552
Sponsor: The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Grant Number: N/A
Title: Efficacy of Blueberry Consumption to Prevent or Delay the Onset of Type 2 Diabetes in a Novel Rodent Model of Type 2 Diabetes, the Ucd-T2dm Rat
Project Amount: $60,960
Project Period: 01/13/14-01/12/15

DESCRIPTION: With the drastically increasing world-wide prevalence of type 2 diabetes, preventative strategies are urgently needed (1). Thus, the purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that chronic daily consumption of whole blueberries will prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in a novel rat model of type 2 diabetes, the UCD-T2DM rat. This hypothesis is supported by previous studies in which blueberry consumption resulted in improvements of blood sugar and lipid concentrations both in obese human subjects and in rodent models of obesity (2-5). However, the effect of whole blueberry consumption to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes has not been previously investigated. We propose to use the UCD-T2DM rat model of type 2 diabetes to test this hypothesis since this rat model is the most accurate rodent model of human type 2 diabetes currently available (6). At 2 months of age, prediabetic male UCD-T2DM rats will receive either regular ground chow or ground chow supplemented with whole blueberry powder. Animals will be maintained on this dietary intervention for 8 months and the onset of diabetes will be determined by weekly blood sugar measurements. We expect that this study will demonstrate that chronic consumption of whole blueberries is an effective type 2 diabetes prevention strategy. Similarly, we expect that whole blueberry consumption will result in improvements of blood sugar and lipid concentrations. This study will likely provide compelling evidence to support the health promoting benefits of greater incorporation of whole blueberries in the diet. Furthermore, these findings will lay the ground-work for further human clinical studies investigating the efficacy of whole blueberry consumption to lower blood sugar and lipid concentrations in people with insulin resistance and prediabetes who are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.