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Resveratrol lowers peptide associated with Alzheimer’s disease
A report published in the November 11 2005 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry revealed that resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and peanuts, reduces amyloid-beta peptide levels produced by specific brain cells. Deposits of amyloid-beta contribute to the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients which are believed to be responsible for much of the damage that occurs in this disease.
Philippe Marambaud and colleagues at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders in Manhasset, New York gave resveratrol to human amyloid-beta-producing cells and measured amyloid-beta levels inside and outside of the cells. They found that resveratrol, while not inhibiting amyloid-beta production, promoted its degradation, thereby lowering levels compared to those measured in untreated cells.
While grapes are one good source of resveratrol, eating them may not be an effective Alzheimer’s disease treatment. Dr Marambaud explained, "It is difficult to know whether the anti-amyloidogenic effect of resveratrol observed in cell culture systems can support the beneficial effect of specific diets such as eating grapes. Resveratrol in grapes may never reach the concentrations required to obtain the effect observed in our studies. Grapes and wine however contain more than 600 different components, including well-characterized antioxidant molecules. Therefore, we cannot exclude the possibility that several compounds work in synergy with small amounts of resveratrol to slow down the progression of the neurodegenerative process in humans."
"Our long-term goal is now to elucidate the exact molecular mechanisms involved in the beneficial properties of resveratrol as a necessary prerequisite to the identification of novel molecular targets and therapeutic approaches,” he added. "The observation that resveratrol has a strong anti-amyloidogenic activity is a powerful starting point for screening analogues of resveratrol for more active and more stable compounds, a task in which our laboratory is actively involved. We have already obtained analogues of resveratrol that are 20 times more potent than the original natural compound. We are now aiming to find more stable analogues and to test them in vivo in mice."