Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preventive effect of plant sterols in Alzheimer’s disease

Date:
October 24, 2013
Source:
University Saarland
Summary:
It’s no secret that many of the phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables have a positive effect on our health. For instance, plant sterols (also known as phytosterols) help to lower cholesterol levels. According to a new study, they also appear to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

It's no secret that many of the phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables have a positive effect on our health. For instance, plant sterols (also known as phytosterols) help to lower cholesterol levels. According to a new study by researchers at Saarland University, they also appear to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The scientific research team led by Dr Marcus Grimm has shown that a particular sterol, stigmasterol, inhibits the production of proteins that play an important role in the development of the disease. The study has recently been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"Plant sterols are present in various combinations in nuts, seeds and plant oils. As plant sterols are the equivalents of animal cholesterol, they can in principal influence metabolic processes, where cholesterol is involved," explained Marcus Grimm, Head of the Experimental Neurology Laboratory at Saarland University. "Because they also lower cholesterol levels, they are extensively used in the food industry and as dietary supplements."

High cholesterol levels have long been discussed to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. "Studies have already shown that cholesterol promotes the formation of so-called senile plaques," said Grimm. These plaques, which are composed of proteins, particularly beta-amyloid proteins, deposit at nerve cells within the brain and are regarded as one of the main causes of Alzheimer's disease.

The research team based at Saarland University's medical campus in Homburg collaborated with scientists from Bonn, Finland and the Netherlands to examine how the sterols that we ingest influence the formation of these plaque proteins. It was found that one sterol in particular, stigmasterol, actually inhibited protein formation. "Stigmasterol has an effect on a variety of molecular processes: it lowers enzyme activity, it inhibits the formation of proteins implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease, and it alters the structure of the cell membrane," explained Dr Grimm. "Together, these effects synergistically reduce the production of beta-amyloid proteins." The research team has been able to confirm the positive effect of stigmasterol in tests on animals.

Overall, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the various plant sterols influence different cellular mechanisms and therefore have to be assessed individually. "Particularly in the case of Alzheimer's disease, it seems expedient to focus on the dietary intake of specific plant sterols rather than a mixture of sterols," explained Dr Grimm. In future studies, the research team wants to determine which other cellular processes in the brain are affected by phytosterols.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Saarland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. K. Burg, H. S. Grimm, T. L. Rothhaar, S. Grosgen, B. Hundsdorfer, V. J. Haupenthal, V. C. Zimmer, J. Mett, O. Weingartner, U. Laufs, L. M. Broersen, H. Tanila, T. Vanmierlo, D. Lutjohann, T. Hartmann, M. O. W. Grimm. Plant Sterols the Better Cholesterol in Alzheimer's Disease? A Mechanistical Study. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (41): 16072 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1506-13.2013

Cite This Page:

University Saarland. "Preventive effect of plant sterols in Alzheimer’s disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024090045.htm>.
University Saarland. (2013, October 24). Preventive effect of plant sterols in Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024090045.htm
University Saarland. "Preventive effect of plant sterols in Alzheimer’s disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024090045.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins