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J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Sep 10. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b04614. [Epub ahead of print]

Maltol (3-Hydroxy-2-methyl-4-pyrone) Slows d-Galactose-Induced Brain Aging Process by Damping the Nrf2/HO-1-Mediated Oxidative Stress in Mice.

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College of Chinese Medicinal Materials , Jilin Agricultural University , Changchun 130118 , China.
National & Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Ginseng Breeding and Development , Changchun 130118 , China.
School of Biomedical Sciences , The University of Queensland , Brisbane 4072 , Australia.


Maltol, a maillard reaction product from ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer), has been confirmed to inhibit oxidative stress in several animal models. Its beneficial effect on oxidative stress related brain aging is still unclear. In this study, the mouse model of d-galactose (d-Gal)-induced brain aging was employed to investigate the therapeutic effects and potential mechanisms of maltol. Maltol treatment significantly restored memory impairment in mice as determined by the Morris water maze tests. Long-term d-Gal treatment reduced expression of cholinergic regulators, i.e., the cholineacetyltransferase (ChAT) (0.456 ± 0.10 vs 0.211 ± 0.03 U/mg prot), the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) (36.4 ± 5.21 vs 66.5 ± 9.96 U/g). Maltol treatment prevented the reduction of ChAT and AChE in the hippocampus. Maltol decreased oxidative stress levels by reducing levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) production in the brain and by elevating antioxidative enzymes. Furthermore, maltol treatment minimized oxidative stress by increasing the phosphorylation levels of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt), nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), and hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1). The above results clearly indicate that supplementation of maltol diminishes d-Gal-induced behavioral dysfunction and neurological deficits via activation of the PI3K/Akt-mediated Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway in brain. Maltol might become a potential drug to slow the brain aging process and stimulate endogenous antioxidant defense capacity. This study provides the novel evidence that maltol may slow age-associated brain aging.


-gal; Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway; brain aging; maltol; oxidative stress


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