12 January - 20 June 2016

Stigmasterol may help against Alzheimers

6 Nov 13

A complex study using mice, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, evaluated whether the dietary intake of plant sterols might be beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimers Disease (AD). This was done by analysing the effect of plant sterols and cholesterol on processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP). This is of interest since Amyloid-β (Aβ), generated by proteolytic processing of APP by β- and γ-secretase, is a major constituent of senile plaques in AD.  The research team found that stigmasterol was the only plant sterol that significantly decreased Aβ levels. Compared with stigmasterol, β-sitosterol and cholesterol significantly increased Aβ levels, whereas campesterol and brassicasterol showed minor or no effect.  The authors note that stigmasterol is structurally the most distinctive from cholesterol, having an additional double-bond at C22–C23 and an ethylgroup at C24. The analysis of the molecular mechanisms revealed that stigmasterol directly inhibited b-secretase activity and further reduced β-secretase cleavage of APP.  Other effects were also noted, and the research team notes that stigmasterol-induced effects were all between 10% and 30% and less pronounced compared with synthetic secretase inhibitors. However, these obviously minor effects on different cellular processes, including direct modulation of enzymes, gene expression, and subcellular transport processes, reduced Aβ generation by 38%.  Overall the authors conclude that a diet enriched in plant sterols mainly containing stigmasterol might be beneficial for AD. Their data show that plant sterols are biologically active food compounds interfering with important functional processes in the brain. However, they also warn that phytosterols might interfere with other brain functions such as cell signaling, neurotransmission, and membrane protein transport and these should be addressed by further studies.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of plant sterol and stanol esters.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry