Antioxidants against Alzheimer’s disease


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Mitochondria are dynamic organelles responsible for energy production inside cells. Dysfunction of mitochondria can lead to free radicals production and cell death. Mitochondrial functions can be negatively affected by amyloid β peptide (Aβ), an important component in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis, and Aβ can interact with mitochondria and cause mitochondrial dysfunction. The recent research investigates the potential effect of antioxidants on mitochondria and Alzheimer disease. The study demonstrates that Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE), resveratrol, and phytoestrogens as well as the neurosteroid allopregnanolone have shown significant antioxidant potential. Clinical studies demonstrated that antioxidant therapeutic effects may have impact in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia affecting people mainly in their sixth decade of life and at a higher age. It is an extensively studied neurodegenerative disorder yet incurable to date. While its main postmortem brain hallmarks are the presence of amyloid-β plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau tangles, the onset of the disease seems to be largely correlated to mitochondrial dysfunction, an early event in the disease pathogenesis. AD is characterized by flawed energy metabolism in the brain and excessive oxidative stress, processes that involve less adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and more reactive oxygen species (ROS) production respectively. Mitochondria are at the center of both these processes as they are responsible for energy and ROS generation through mainly oxidative phosphorylation. Standardized Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE), resveratrol, and phytoestrogens as well as the neurosteroid allopregnanolone have shown not only some mitochondria-modulating properties but also significant antioxidant potential in in vitro and in vivo studies.

According to our review of the literature, GBE, resveratrol, allopregnanolone, and phytoestrogens showed promising effects on mitochondria in a descending evidence order and, notably, this order pattern is in line with the existing clinical evidence level for each entity. In this review, the effects of these four entities are discussed with special focus on their mitochondria-modulating effects and their mitochondria-improving and antioxidant properties across the spectrum of cognitive decline-related disorders. Evidence from preclinical and clinical studies on their mechanisms of action are summarized and highlighted.


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