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Benefits from Dietary Polyphenols for Brain Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease

Abstract

Brain aging and the most diffused neurodegenerative diseases of the elderly are characterized by oxidative damage, redox metals homeostasis impairment and inflammation. Food polyphenols can counteract these alterations in vitro and are therefore suggested to have potential anti-aging and brain-protective activities, as also indicated by the results of some epidemiological studies. Despite the huge and increasing amount of the in vitro studies trying to unravel the mechanisms of action of dietary polyphenols, the research in this field is still incomplete, and questions about bioavailability, biotransformation, synergism with other dietary factors, mechanisms of the antioxidant activity, risks inherent to their possible pro-oxidant activities are still unanswered. Most of all, the capacity of the majority of these compounds to cross the blood–brain barrier and reach brain is still unknown. This commentary discusses recent data on these aspects, particularly focusing on effects of curcumin, resveratrol and catechins on Alzheimer’s disease.

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Abbreviations

AD:

Alzheimer’s disease

ApoE4:

Allele 4 of apolipoprotein E gene

APP:

Amyloid precursor protein

ARE:

Antioxidant responsive element

Aβ:

β-Amyloid polypeptide

BACE:

β-Secretase

BBB:

Blood–brain barrier

CSF:

Cerebrospinal fluid

EGCG:

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate

fAD:

familial Alzheimer’s disease

HNE:

4-Hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal

IL-1β:

Interleukin-1β

iNOS:

inducible nitric oxide synthase

IRE:

Iron-responsive element

MAPK:

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

MPTP:

N-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine

NFkB:

Nuclear factor kappa B

nNOS:

neuronal nitric oxide synthase

PCK:

Protein kinase C

RNS:

Reactive nitrogen species

ROS:

Reactive oxygen species

sAD:

sporadic Alzheimer’s disease

SIN-1:

3-Morpholinosydnonimine

SNP:

Sodium nitroprusside

TBARS:

Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances

TNF-α:

Tumor necrosis factor-α

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Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to the Italian Ministry of Health for supporting this work, and to Dr. Sara D’Annibale for critically reviewing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to L. Rossi.

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Special issue article in honor of Dr. Anna Maria Giuffrida-Stella.

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Rossi, L., Mazzitelli, S., Arciello, M. et al. Benefits from Dietary Polyphenols for Brain Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurochem Res 33, 2390–2400 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11064-008-9696-7

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Brain
  • Oxidative stress
  • Polyphenols
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Copper