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Pomegranate improves synaptic function in experimental model of Alzheimer’s disease

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

August 8 2016. An article published on July 28, 2016 in the journal Oncotarget reports improvement in the loss of synaptic proteins that occurs with aging in association with pomegranate intake in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Synapses are the connections that enable the transmission of messages between neurons. Impairment of synaptic plasticity—the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time in response to variation in their activity—is one of several neurologic changes observed in Alzheimer's disease that contributes to cognitive impairment.

"Synaptic dysfunction represents another pathological presentation of Alzheimer's disease," explain authors Nady Braidy of the University of New South Wales and colleagues. "Since impairments in synaptic plasticity precede synaptic loss, changes to synaptic regulatory protein may represent an important biomarker for disease progression and cognitive impairments."

The current study investigated the effects of the addition of pomegranate to the diets of Alzheimer's disease transgenic mice that develop amyloid beta brain deposits characteristic of the disease. The mice were provided with a standard diet or a standard diet enhanced with 4% pomegranate fruit for 15 months, while normal mice served as controls.

"The present study demonstrated for the first time that pomegranate diet administered for 15 months enhanced synaptic plasticity by increasing the expression of synaptic proteins," the authors report.

"Together with other mechanisms, such as inhibition of neuroinflammation, and increased autophagy, pomegranates may represent alternative treatment to lower Alzheimer's disease pathology," they conclude.

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