“This new finding holds significant promise as a preventive method or treatment, and is being tested in translational studies in Alzheimer’s disease patients.” – Dr. GM Pasinetti, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that grape seed polyphenols – a natural antioxidant – may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The research, led by neurologist Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, will be published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.(1)
This is the first study to evaluate the ability of grape-derived polyphenols to prevent the generation of a specific form of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide, a substance in the brain long known to cause the neurotoxicity associated with Alzheimer disease.
In partnership with a team at the University of Minnesota led by Karen Hsiao Ashe, MD, PhD, Dr. Pasinetti and his collaborators administered grape seed polyphenolic extracts to mice genetically determined to develop memory deficits and Abeta neurotoxins similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease.
They found that the brain content of the Abeta*56, a specific form of Abeta previously implicated in the promotion of Alzheimer’s disease memory loss, was substantially reduced after treatment.
Previous studies suggest that increased consumption of grape-derived polyphenols, whose content, for example, is very high in red wine, may protect against cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s.
This new finding, showing a selective decrease in the neurotoxin Abeta*56 following grape seed-derived polyphenols treatment, corroborates those theories.
Now Being Tested in Alzheimer’s Patients
“Since naturally occurring polyphenols are also generally commercially available as nutritional supplements and have negligible adverse events even after prolonged periods of treatment, this new finding holds significant promise as a preventive method or treatment, and is being tested in translational studies in Alzheimer’s disease patients,” said Dr. Pasinetti.
Biomarker Needed for Preventive Studies
The study authors emphasize that in order for grape-derived polyphenols to be effective [in prevention], scientists need to identify a biomarker of disease that would pinpoint who is at high risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“It will be critical to identify subjects who are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, so that we can initiate treatments very early and possibly even in asymptomatic patients,” said Dr. Pasinetti.
“However, for Alzheimer’s disease patients who have already progressed into the initial stages of the disease, early intervention with this treatment might be beneficial as well. Our study implicating that these neurotoxins such as A?*56 in the brain are targeted by grape-derived polyphenols holds significant promise.”
This research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health….
1. Article (in press): Pasinetti GM, Ashe KH, et al, “Grape seed polyphenolic extract specifically decreases Abeta*56 in the brains of Tg2576 mice,” Vol 26, #4.
Source: Mount Sinai Medical Center news release, Jul 15, 2011