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Rejuvenation Res. 2008 Oct;11(5):891-901. doi: 10.1089/rej.2008.0757.

Blueberry opposes beta-amyloid peptide-induced microglial activation via inhibition of p44/42 mitogen-activation protein kinase.

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Rashid Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology, Silver Child Development Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida 33613, USA.


Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common age-related dementia, with a current prevalence in excess of five million individuals in the United States. The aggregation of amyloid-beta (A beta) into fibrillar amyloid plaques is a key pathological event in the development of the disease. Microglial proinflammatory activation is widely known to cause neuronal and synaptic damage that correlates with cognitive impairment in AD. However, current pharmacological attempts at reducing neuroinflammation mediated via microglial activation have been largely negative in terms of slowing AD progression. Previously, we have shown that microglia express proinflammatory cytokines and a reduced capacity to phagocytose A beta in the context of CD40, A beta peptides and/or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, a phenomenon that can be opposed by attenuation of p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. Other groups have found that blueberry (BB) extract both inhibits phosphorylation of this MAPK module and also improves cognitive deficits in AD model mice. Given these considerations and the lack of reduced A beta quantities in behaviorally improved BB-fed mice, we wished to determine whether BB supplementation would alter the microglial proinflammatory activation state in response to A beta. We found that BB significantly enhances microglial clearance of A beta, inhibits aggregation of A beta(1-42), and suppresses microglial activation, all via suppression of the p44/42 MAPK module. Thus, these data may explain the previously observed behavioral recovery in PSAPP mice and suggest a means by which dietary supplementation could mitigate an undesirable microglial response toward fibrillar A beta.

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