Caffeine Protects Us Against Dementia

Posted: Mar 8 2017, 10:08am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Caffeine Protects Us Against Dementia
Indiana University scientists have identified 24 compounds that increase the brain's production of the enzyme NMNAT2, which helps prevent the formation of these tangles associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Credit: Image courtesy of the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health
  • New analysis reveals 24 compounds that can help reduce impact of harmful proteins in the brain

Study by IU reveals that caffeine boosts enzyme that protects us from dementia

An Indiana university’s research study found 24 compounds that prevent from dementia. The compounds, including caffeine boost brain enzymes that preventing it from dementia.

NMNAT2, the protection quality of enzyme was first detected last year through IU Bloomington’s study that published in the journal Science Reports.

The research will help scientists develop new drugs to enhance NMNAT2 to fight against neurodegenerative disorders, explained Hui-Chen Lu, who led the study. Lu is a Gill Professor in the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

In the past studies, Lu with her colleagues discovered that, NMNAT2 has two functions, including neuron protection from stress and elimination of tau, the proteins that gather in brain creating plaques, and this function is called chaperone. This was the first time that scientists discovered chaperone function.

The proteins, tau cause certain brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Alzheimer affects 5.4 million Americans every year, and the number will increase in future.

The study involved 1,280 compounds, including drugs, and 24 compounds were found that enhanced the function of NMNAT2. One compound out of 24 was caffeine that improved mice memory during a research. Lu also found that mice changed to create tau the misfolded proteins.

To see the effects of caffeine on mice, the IU researchers studied mice that showed low levels of NMNAT2, now increased the level like normal mice.

There was also another compound that enhanced brain called rolipam, that’s an orphaned drug that was used as antidepressant, but was banned in 1990s.

The compound also enhanced memory. Similar compounds that enhanced the production of NMNAT2 included ziprasidone, cantharidin, wortmannin and retinoic acid.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, will help scientists understand dementia and role of NMNAT2 in controlling dementia.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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