Yet another study has found that beneficial substances in green tea and red wine can offer protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at the University of Leeds have identified natural compounds in tea and wine that disrupt a key step in the development of Alzheimer's, suggesting a possible new way to guard against the fatal neurodegenerative disorder.
In preliminary laboratory experiments, detailed in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Leeds researchers identified the process by which clumps of proteins gum up brain cells, causing them to die. They also found they could disrupt that process — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s — by treating the proteins with resveratrol from red wine and purified extracts of EGCG from green tea.
The findings suggest the chemicals could be used to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease, which is currently incurable.
"This is an important step in increasing our understanding of the cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease," said lead researcher Nigel Hooper of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences. "It's a misconception that Alzheimer's is a natural part of aging; it's a disease that we believe can ultimately be cured through finding new opportunities for drug targets like this."
The Leeds team noted Alzheimer's disease is caused by the buildup of amyloid proteins in the brain, which clump together to form toxic, sticky balls that choke off cognitive functions. The Leeds research involved combining amyloid clumps with human brain cells in a test tube and treating them with the tea and wine compounds.
"When we added the extracts from red wine and green tea, which recent research has shown to re-shape amyloid proteins, the amyloid balls no longer harmed the nerve cells,” said Hooper. “We saw that this was because their shape was distorted, so they could no longer … disrupt cell function.
"I'm certain that this will increase our understanding of Alzheimer's disease even further, with the potential to reveal yet more drug targets."
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