A new study on mice offers tantalizing evidence that grape seed polyphenols—a natural antioxidant—may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers studied the ability of grape-derived polyphenols to prevent the generation of a specific form of beta-amyloid peptide.
This peptide is a substance in the brain long known to cause the neurotoxicity associated with Alzheimer disease.
The research is published online in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lead researcher Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D., and collegues administered grape seed polyphenolic extracts to mice genetically determined to develop memory deficits and beta-amyloid neurotoxins similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease.
They found that the brain content of the beta-amyloid*56, a specific form of the peptide previously implicated in the promotion of Alzheimer’s disease memory loss, was substantially reduced after treatment.
Prior studies have suggested consumption of red wine, a product of grape-derived polyphenols, may protect against cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s.
This new finding, showing a selective decrease in the neurotoxin beta-amyloid*56 following grape-derived polyphenols treatment, supports those theories.
“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 Pasinetti.
However, in order for grape-derived polyphenols to be effective, 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 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 beta-amyloid*56 in the brain are targeted by grape-derived polyphenols holds significant promise.”