Dorothy Klimis-Zacas

Dorothy Klimis-Zacas
Professor of Clinical Nutrition
Cooperating Graduate Faculty, School of Biomedical Sciences
School of Food and Agriculture
232 Hitchner Hall

Degree: Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University

Research Topic: Nutritional Physiology and Biochemistry, Endothelial Nutrition, Berry bioactives and their role on chronic disease (Cardiovascular, Hypertension, Metabolic Syndrome), Lipid metabolism, Trace mineral metabolism,

Overview of Research: The area of nutrition and its relationship to chronic diseases has been in the forefront of research during the last few decades. Recently, research has documented the role bioactive compounds in functional foods play for attenuating oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and inflammation the cause of several chronic diseases. Research in my laboratory targets the following areas in an attempt to unravel mechanisms of bioactive compounds as they relate to chronic diseases from berries indigenous to the State of Maine.


Role and mechanism of action of functional foods and food bioactives on vasomotor function and aortic glycosaminoglycan structure and metabolism as related to Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension and Obesity with the use of biosensors


Berry bioactives and their mechanism of action on inflammation and gene expression associated with the Metabolic Syndrome

The role of anthocyanins on cognitive performance and brain function and metabolism

The bioavailability and metabolic fate of berry bioactives and their effect(s) on gut microbiota


Human interventions to study the role of food bioactives on Cardiovascular Disease, attenuation of oxidative stress, endothelial function, DNA protection and repair and gut microbiota


Representative Publication:

Lacombe A., Li R.W., Klimis-Zacas D., Kristo A.S., Tadepalli S., Krauss E., Young R., Wu V.C.H. Lowbush blueberries, Vaccinium angustifolium, modulate the functional potential of nutrient utilization and DNA maintenance mechanisms in the rat proximal colon microbiota. Functional Foods in Health andDisease 2012, 2(6):228-241.

Papandreou M.A., Tsachaki M., Efthimiopoulos S., Klimis-Zacas D., Margarity M., Lamari F.N. Cell-Line Specific Protection by Berry Polyphenols Against Hydrogen Peroxide Challenge and Lack of Effect on Metabolism of Amyloid Precursor Protein. Phytotherapy Research 2012, 26: 956–963

Klimis-Zacas D., Kristo A.S. Wild Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium): Modulators of Vascular Function, Structure, and Metabolism. In: Bhimanagouda SP, Guddadarangavvanahally KJ, KotamballiNCM, Chidambara M, Navindra PS, editors. Emerging Trends in Dietary Components for Preventing and Combating Disease. ACS Publication Series, 2012, 151-166.

KristoA.S, Malavaki C.J, Lamari F.N, Karamanos N.K, Klimis-Zacas D.J. Wild blueberry (V. angustifolium)-enriched diets alter aortic glycosaminoglycan profile in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. J Nutr Biochem. 2012, 23(8):961-5.

Del Bo’, C., Riso, P., Brambilla, A., Gardana, C., Rizzolo, A., Simonetti, P., Bertolo, G., Klimis-Zacas, D., Porrini, M. Blanching Improves Anthocyanin Absorption from Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) Purée in Healthy Human Volunteers: A Pilot Study. J Agric Food Chem. 2012, 12;60:9298-304.

Riso P., Klimis-Zacas D., Del Bo’ C., Vendrame S., Martini D.,Campolo J., De Maria R., Porrini M. The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) intake on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in subjects with cardiovascular risk factors. European Journal of Nutrition 2012, doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0402-9.

Kristo A.S, Kalea A.Z, Schuschke D.A, Klimis-Zacas D.J. Mechanisms of dietary wild blueberries on adrenergic-induced vasoconstriction in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Submitted, September 2012,Journal of Agricultural and Food and Chemistry (under review)

Vendrame S., Guglielmetti S., Riso P., Arioli S., Klimis-Zacas D., Porrini M. Six-week consumption of a wild blueberry powder drink increases bifidobacteria in the human gut. J. Agricult. Food Chemistry 2011, 59(24):12815-20

Del Bo’ C., Klimis-Zacas, D., Kristo, A., Riso, P., Porrini, M., and Ciappellano, S. The temporal effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)-enriched diet on vasomotor tone in the Sprague-Dawley rat. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Feb;22(2):127-32. Epub 2010 Aug 14.

Del Bo’ C., Martini D., Vendrame S., Riso P., Ciappellano S., Klimis-Zacas D., Porrini M. Improvement of lymphocyte resistance against H2O2-induced DNA damage in Sprague-Dawley rats after eight weeks of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)-enriched diet. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis 2010, 703(2): 158-162.

Kalea A.Z, Clark K., Schuschke D.A., Kristo A.S. and Klimis-Zacas D. Dietary enrichment with wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) affects the vasomotor pathways in young Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR). Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2010, 21:14-22.

Kristo A., Kalea A.Z, Schuschke D., and Klimis-Zacas D. A wild blueberry enriched diet (V. augustifolium) improves vascular tone in the adult Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR), J. Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2010 Nov 24; 58(22):11600-5.

Del Bo’ C., Ciappellano S., Klimis-Zacas D., Martini D., Gardana C., Riso P. and Porrini M. Anthocyanin Absorption, Metabolism, and Distribution from a Wild Blueberry-Enriched Diet (Vaccinium Angustifolium) Is Affected by Diet Duration. J. of Agricultural Food Chemistry 2010, 58:2491-2497.

Kalea A.Z, Clark K., Schuschke D.A. and Klimis-Zacas D. Endothelium-mediated vasoreactivity is affected by dietary consumption of wild blueberries in Sprague-Dawley rats. Journal of Medicinal Food 2009, 12(1): 21-8.

Papandreou M.A.,Dimakopoulou A., Cordopatis P., Klimis-Zacas D., Margarity M.,and Lamari F.N. Effect of a polyphenol-rich blueberry extract on cognitive performance, brain antioxidant markers and acetylcholinesterase activity in mice. J. Behavioral Brain Research 2009, 198: 352-8.

Klimis-Zacas D., and Kalea A. Z., Manganese: Modulator of arterial function and metabolism, International Society for Trace Element Research in the Human, Symposium Proceedings, J. Cell Toxicology and Biology, 24(1): 345-349, 2008

Klimis-Zacas DJ, Anastasia Z. Kalea, Mary Yannakoulia, Antonia-Leda Matalas, Tonia Vassilakou, Constantina Papoutsakis-Tsarouhas, Nikos Yiannakouris, Evangelos Polychronopoulos, Michalis Passsos.  Dietary Intakes of Greek Urban Adolescents Do Not Meet the Recommendations, Nutrition Research. 27: 18-26, 2007.

Papandreou, M.A., Efthimiopoulos, S., Cordopatis, P., Klimis-Zacas, D., Margariti, M., &Lamari, F.N. Inhibitory activity on amyloid-beta-protein aggregation and antioxidant properties of blueberry extract, Review of International Pharmacology andPharmacokinetics, 20(2):105-107,2006

Kalea A.Z., Schuschke D, Harris P.D. & Klimis-Zacas, D. Cyclo-oxygenase inhibition restores the attenuated vasodilation in manganese deficiency. J. Nutrition, 136:2302-2307, 2006

Kalea A.Z., Lamari F.N., Theocharis A.D., Schuschke D.A., Karamanos N.K.,Klimis-Zacas D.J. Heparan sulfate Glycosaminoglycan Composition and structure is affected by Dietary Manganese (Mn) in the Sprague-Dawley Rat Aorta. Biometals, 19(5):535-46, 2006

Kalea A.Z., Lamari F.N., Theocharis A.D., Cordopatis P., Schuschke D.A., Karamanos N.K., Klimis-Zacas D.J. Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption affects the composition and structure of glycosaminoglycans in Sprague-Dawley rat aorta. J.Nutr. Biochem.17(2): 109-116, 2006.

Norton, A. Z. Kalea, P. D. Harris and D. Klimis-Zacas. Wild blueberry rich diets affect the contractile machinery of the vascular smooth muscle in the Sprague-Dawley rat, J.Medic. Food 8(1): 8-13, 2005

A.Z. Kalea, Harris P.D. and D. Klimis-Zacas. Dietary manganese suppresses α-1 adrenergic receptor-mediated vascular contraction, J. Nutr. Biochem.16(1) 44-49, 2005

Yiannakoulia, A. Matalas, N. Yiannakouris, C. Papoutsakis, M. Passos and D.Klimis-Zacas.Disordered Eating Attitudes: An Emerging Health Problem Among Mediterranean Adolescents, J. Eating Dis9(2) 126-133, 2004.

M.Yiannakoulia, N. Yiannakouris, S. Bluher, A-L Matalas, D.Klimis-Zacas and C.S. Mantzoros.Body fat mass and macronutrient intake in relation to circulating soluble leptin receptor, free leptin index, adiponectin, and resistin concentration in healthy humans, J. Clin.Endocrin.Metab., 88:1730-6, 2003.

Yiannakouris, M. Yannakoulia, L. Melistas, J.L. Chan, D. Klimis-Zacas and C.S. Mantzoros. The Q223R polymorphism of the leptin receptor (LEPR) gene is significantly associated with obesity and predicts a small percentage of body weight and body composition variability. J. Clin. Endocrin.Metab. 2001.