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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jul 9;56(13):4855-73. doi: 10.1021/jf0735073. Epub 2008 Jun 17.

Challenges for research on polyphenols from foods in Alzheimer's disease: bioavailability, metabolism, and cellular and molecular mechanisms.

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INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, 531 Boulevard des Prairies, Laval, Qu├ębec H7V 1B7, Canada.


Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in diet. Indeed, fruits, vegetables, beverages (tea, wine, juices), plants, and some herbs are loaded with powerful antioxidant polyphenols. Despite their wide distribution, research on human health benefits truly began in the mid-1990s (Scalbert, A.; Johnson, I. T.; Saltmarsh, M. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2005, 81, S15S-217S). Phenolic compounds have been receiving increasing interest from consumers and manufacturers because numerous epidemiological studies have suggested associations between consumption of polyphenol-rich foods or beverages and the prevention of certain chronic diseases such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases (Manach, C.; Mazur, A.; Scalbert, A. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 2005, 16, 77-84; Duthie, S. J. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2007, 51, 665-674). Furthermore, in the past 10 years, research on the neuroprotective effects of dietary polyphenols has developed considerably. These compounds are able to protect neuronal cells in various in vivo and in vitro models through different intracellular targets (Ramassamy, C. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2006, 545, 51-64). However, it is not at all clear whether these compounds reach the brain in sufficient concentrations and in a biologically active form to exert beneficial effects. On the other hand, it has become clear that the mechanisms of action of these polyphenols go beyond their antioxidant activity and the attenuation of oxidative stress. Therefore, there is a need for more research on their intracellular and molecular targets as special pathways underlying distinct polyphenol-induced neuroprotection. The focus of this review is aimed at presenting the role of some polyphenols from fruits, vegetables, and beverages in neuroprotection and particularly in Alzheimer's disease and the research challenges in this area.

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