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Neural Protective Effects of Millet and Millet Polyphenols on High-Fat Diet-Induced Oxidative Stress in the Brain

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A high fat diet (HFD) is considered to be a risk factor for the development of dementia because it increases oxidative stress in the brain; thus, diets rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, may protect against oxidative damage. In this study, we explored the antioxidant activity and neural protective function of millet on high fat diet-induced oxidative stress in rat brains. Our results suggested that the intake of millet could alleviate oxidative stress in the hippocampus and downregulate the expression of the Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related genes amyloid precursor protein (App), tau, and γ-secretase. Furthermore, we extracted millet polyphenols and verified whether they play important roles during this process. The results showed that millet polyphenols significantly prevented H2O2-induced cell death of SH-SY5Y cells and decreased oxidative stress levels in cells. In addition, the expression levels of pro-inflammatory factors and AD-related genes were also downregulated by treatment with millet polyphenols. The above results indicated that millet and millet polyphenols could exert neural protective effects under high fat diet-induced oxidative stress by upregulating the expression of antioxidant enzymes and downregulating the expression of AD-related genes.

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Alzheimer’s disease


2,2′-Azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt


Amyloid precursor protein


All-trans-retinoic acid


Beta-site App-cleaving enzyme I


Basal diet control




Dulbecco’s minimum essential medium


2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical




High fat diet




Millet polyphenols


3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5 -diphenyltetrazolium bromide


nuclear factor kappa-B




Superoxide dismutase


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This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China [Grant number: 2017YFD0401202] and the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant number: 31901609].

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Correspondence to Xiao Guan.

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Sen Li and Furong Xian are Co-first authors

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Li, S., Xian, F., Guan, X. et al. Neural Protective Effects of Millet and Millet Polyphenols on High-Fat Diet-Induced Oxidative Stress in the Brain. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 75, 208–214 (2020).

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