Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An apple a day could help protect against brain-cell damage that triggers Alzheimer’s, Parkinsonism

18.11.2004


A group of chemicals in apples could protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism, according to two new studies from Cornell University food scientists.

The studies show that the chemical quercetin, a so-called phytonutrient, appears to be largely responsible for protecting rat brain cells when assaulted by oxidative stress in laboratory tests.

Phytonutrients, such as phenolic acids and flavanoids, protect the apple against bacteria, viruses and fungi and provide the fruit’s anti-oxidant and anti-cancer benefits. Quercetin is a major flavanoid in apples. Antioxidants help prevent cancer by mopping up cell-damaging free radicals and inhibiting the production of reactive substances that could damage normal cells. "The studies show that additional apple consumption not only may help reduce the risk of cancer, as previous studies have shown, but also that an apple a day may supply major bioactive compounds, which may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders," says Chang Y. "Cy" Lee, Cornell professor of food science at the university’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y.



In a study that recently appeared online and is to be published in the November/December 2004 issue of theJournal of Food Science (69(9): S357-60), Lee and his co-authors compared how two groups of rat neuronal cells fared against hydrogen peroxide, a common oxidative stressor. Only one of the two groups was pretreated with different concentrations of apple phenolic extracts.

The researchers found that the higher the concentration of apple phenolic extract, the greater the protection was for the nerve cells against oxidative stress. "What we found was that the apple phenolics, which are naturally occurring antioxidants found in fresh apples, can protect nerve cells from neurotoxicity induced by oxidative stress," Lee said. When Lee and co-author Ho Jin Heo, a visiting fellow at Cornell, looked at quercetin they found that it appeared to be the main agent responsible for the beneficial effect. In fact, they found quercetin works even better in protecting nerve cells against hydrogen peroxide than vitamin C, a naturally occurring antioxidant known to help prevent cell and tissue damage from oxidation. Quercetin is primarily found in apples, berries and onions.

This study, which appeared online recently, will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The two studies build on Lee’s 2002 findings that quercetin has stronger anti-cancer activity than vitamin C, and his 2000 findings that phytochemicals in apples have stronger anti-oxidant protective effects than vitamin C against colon and liver cancer cells.

Other studies have found that phytochemicals are associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and that they fight not only cancer but also bacterial and viral infections. In addition, they are anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory.

Although Lee stresses that his studies were conducted in the laboratory, not in clinical trials with humans, he has no hesitation in recommending more apples in the diet as well as other fresh fruits and vegetables. "Indeed, I have a reason to say an apple a day keeps the doctor away," he says.

The researchers used red delicious apples grown in New York state to provide the extracts to study the effects of phytochemicals. Lee said that all apples are high in the critical phytonutrients and that the amount of phenolic compounds in the apple flesh and in the skin vary from year to year, season to season and from growing region to growing region.

The study on apple phenolics, which was co-authored by Heo and D.O. Kim, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell, as well as S.J. Choi and D.H. Shin at Korea University, was supported in part by Heo’s postdoctoral fellowship through the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KSEF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The study on quercetin, authored by Lee and Heo, also was supported, in part, by the KSEF fellowship program and U.S. Apple Association.

Susan S. Lang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>