A follow-up research analyzing the effects of resveratrol on Alzheimer’s disease brings new details pertaining to the immune response within the brain. Even though it is not being heralded as a cure, the molecule and its effects will assist focus further research.
Alzheimer’s disease presently impacts 5 million People in America. Every 66 seconds, a person in America develops the disease.
Yet, presently, the exact mechanisms driving Alzheimer’s are not completely understood, and current therapies only address the symptoms.
These sobering information make Alzheimer’s study a hot bed of innovation. Any possible avenue is extensively examined, and no molecule is left unturned.
The results of the latest Alzheimer’s research were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2016 in Toronto, Canada, on 27th July. The molecule of interest was resveratrol.
What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a natural phenol, produced by specific plants in reaction to attack or injury. The substance is identified in a variety of foods, which includes blueberries, dark chocolate, grapes, raspberries and red wine.
Caloric limitation is known to decrease age-related conditions in animals, and resveratrol is identified to mimic caloric restriction; it does this by producing the same proteins – sirtuins – hence the molecule’s interest to those studying neurodegenerative, age related disease.
In 2015, the biggest countrywide clinical study on high-dosage resveratrol was presented in Neurology. The investigators identified that long-term resveratrol therapy of people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s appeared to cease, or at least slow, the progress of the disease.
A protein known as amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) is identified to decrease as dementia worsens. The research in 2015 revealed that, in people who took resveratrol, the Abeta40 levels stayed constant, whereas the placebo group’s levels decreased.
At the time, principal investigator Dr. R. Scott Turner cautioned: “This is a single, small research with discoveries that call for additional research to understand properly.”
Dr. R. Scott Turner was the lead investigator of the present study, together with neurologist Dr. Charbel Moussa. For this round of studies, the team was curious in the levels of particular molecules in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
In all, 19 subjects obtained a daily dose of resveratrol (the equivalent to 1,000 bottles of red wine) and an additional 19 were provided a placebo.
Discovering the anti-inflammatory outcomes of resveratrol
The brains of people with Alzheimer’s are harmed by inflammation. This inflammation is believed to be due to a reaction to the accumulation of proteins in the brain, which includes Abeta40 and Abeta42.
Enhanced inflammation seems to be worsen the disease. Earlier, this inflammation was regarded to come only from immune cells inside the brain. The present study hints that this may not be the case.
The primary molecule of interest to the investigators was matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). The research team identified a 50 % decrease of MMP-9 in the CSF of those getting the daily resveratrol dose.
This is important because MMP-9 is decreased when sirtuin1 (one of the proteins connected to caloric restriction) is activated. Greater levels of MMP-9 are recognized to trigger a breakdown of the blood brain barrier – a blockade that generally stops proteins and other molecules from coming into the brain.
In addition, the team identified that resveratrol enhanced levels of compounds connected to a long lasting “adaptive” immune response; this indicates an involvement of inflammatory cells that are resident in the brain. This kind of reaction degrades and eliminates neurotoxic proteins.