Polyphenols and brain health
Norwich Medical School, James Watson Road, University of East Anglia,
Norwich Research Park,
NR4 7UQ, UK
⁎ Correspondence: D.Vauzour@uea.ac.uk
Accepted: 24 February 2017
Accumulating evidence suggests that diet and lifestyle can play an important role in delaying the onset or halting the progression of age-related health disorders and to improve cognitive function. A growing number of dietary intervention studies in humans and animals and in particular those using polyphenol-rich diets have been proposed to exert a multiplicity of neuroprotective actions within the brain, including a potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins, an ability to suppress neuroinflammation and a potential to promote memory, learning, and cognitive functions. These effects appear to be underpinned by two common processes. First, they are capable of interactions with critical protein and lipid kinase signalling cascades in the brain, leading to an inhibition of apoptosis triggered by neurotoxic species and to a promotion of neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity. Second, they induce beneficial effects on the vascular system, leading to changes in cerebrovascular blood flow capable of causing enhance vascularisation and neurogenesis, two events important in the maintenance of cognitive performances. Together, these processes act to maintain brain homeostasis and play important roles in neuronal stress adaptation and thus polyphenols might have the potential to prevent the progression of neurodegenerative pathologies.
Key words: flavonoids / ageing / neuroinflammation / cognition / signalling pathways
© D. Vauzour, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.