Pomegranate polyphenols and extract inhibit nuclear factor of activated T-cell activity and microglial activation in vitro and in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer disease.J Nutr. 2013 May; 143(5):597-605.JN
Alzheimer disease (AD) brain is characterized by extracellular plaques of amyloid β (Aβ) peptide with reactive microglia. This study aimed to determine whether a dietary intervention could attenuate microgliosis. Memory was assessed in 12-mo-old male amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1 (APP/PS1) transgenic mice via Barnes maze testing followed by division into either a control-fed group provided free access to normal chow and water or a treatment group provided free access to normal chow and drinking water supplemented with pomegranate extract (6.25 mL/L) for 3 mo followed by repeat Barnes maze testing for both groups. Three months of pomegranate feeding decreased the path length to escape of mice compared with their initial 12-mo values (P < 0.05) and their control-fed counterparts (P < 0.05). Brains of the 3-mo study pomegranate-fed mice had lower tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) concentrations (P < 0.05) and lower nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFAT) transcriptional activity (P < 0.05) compared with controls. Brains of the 3-mo pomegranate or control mice were also compared with an additional control group of 12-mo-old mice for histologic analysis. Immunocytochemistry showed that pomegranate- but not control-fed mice had attenuated microgliosis (P < 0.05) and Aβ plaque deposition (P < 0.05) compared with 12-mo-old mice. An additional behavioral study again used 12-mo-old male APP/PS1 mice tested by T-maze followed by division into a control group provided with free access to normal chow and sugar supplemented drinking water or a treatment group provided with normal chow and pomegranate extract-supplemented drinking water (6.25 mL/L) for 1 mo followed by repeat T-maze testing in both groups. One month of pomegranate feeding increased spontaneous alternations versus control-fed mice (P < 0.05). Cell culture experiments verified that 2 polyphenol components of pomegranate extract, punicalagin and ellagic acid, attenuated NFAT activity in a reporter cell line (P < 0.05) and decreased Aβ-stimulated TNF-α secretion by murine microglia (P < 0.05). These data indicate that dietary pomegranate produces brain antiinflammatory effects that may attenuate AD progression.