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Effects of long-term cranberry supplementation on endocrine pancreas in aging rats

Zhu M, Hu J, Perez E, Phillips D, Kim W, Ghaedian R, Napora JK, Zou S
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 66(11):1139-51

The effects of long-term cranberry consumption on age-related changes in endocrine pancreas are not fully understood. Here we treated male Fischer 344 rats with either 2% whole cranberry powder supplemented or normal rodent chow from 6 to 22 month old. Both groups displayed an age-related decline in basal plasma insulin concentrations, but this age-related decline was delayed by cranberry. Cranberry supplementation led to increased β-cell glucose responsiveness during the oral glucose tolerance test. Portal insulin concentration was 7.6-fold higher in rats fed cranberry, coupled with improved β-cell function. However, insulin resistance values were similar in both groups. Total β-cell mass and expression of pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 and insulin within islets were significantly enhanced in rats fed cranberry relative to controls. Furthermore, cranberry increased insulin release of an insulin-producing β-cell line, revealing its insulinotropic effect. These findings suggest that cranberry is of particular benefit to β-cell function in normal aging rats.