By A Staff Reporter -
MUSCAT — Researchers in the Food Science and Nutrition Department of Sultan
Qaboos University have embarked on in vitro studies including cell lines to find
out the effect of Omani date palm fruit against Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Based on their initial findings, the researchers claim that Oman date varieties
have the ability to reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease due to the
presence of polyphenols and the result of their study could give a novel lead in
developing new therapeutic drugs that might be helpful in the treatment and/or
prevention against AD.
AD is the most common type of dementia which is characterised by loss of memory
and leads to affecting daily activities. The cause of AD is not yet known,
however the damage in brain cells is believed to be caused by the accumulation
of the protein beta Amyloid outside nerve cells which leads to cell death and
reduces the connection between brain cells.
Although there are currently no proven ways to delay the onset or slow the
progression of AD, evidences suggest that diet can influence the risk of
developing AD and alter amyloid beta protein (Aβ) levels. It follows that if the
fibrillogenic nature of Aβ could be circumvented by agents or nutrients, disease
prevention or amelioration could possibly be translated into reality. The key
step, then, involves identifying these agents that promote solubility or arrest
fibrillogenesis of toxic Aβ.
Dr Mohamed Essa Mohamed Musthafa (pictured), Assistant Professor in the
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, is the principal investigator of this
He said that the first study was to examine the effect of six Omani date palm
fruit (Fardh, Kasab, Khalas, Khuniazi, Handal and Kush Habib) varieties on in
vitro Aβ fibrillisation using Thioflavin T fluorescence spectroscopy after three
days of incubation. All the six varieties of Omani dates had shown a variable
rate of inhibition ranging from (5-99 per cent) after three days of incubation
with Aβ. Inhibition of Aβ fibrillisation has in fact been reported to ameliorate
the neurotoxic effect of Aβ.
Therefore, a strategy to prevent or reverse Aβ fibrillisation can be of
prophylactic and therapeutic importance in Alzheimer’s disease. The results of
this study were accepted as a chapter of a new book from CRC press UK. Based on
the results of the first study, The Research Council (TRC) awarded a research
grant of RO 201,000 to Dr Mohamed and his group.
The second study was conducted to analyse the effects of three Omani dates (Fardh,
Khalas and Khasab) on Aβ-induced cytotoxicity in rat pheochromocytoma (PC 12)
cells, undifferentiated neuronal cells. Dates can increase the viability of the
cells, mitochondrial protection and prevents cell death, which was done by
evaluating MTT (3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide)
reduction, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage (membrane damage), mitochondrial
membrane potential, ROS measurement and apoptosis.
The results suggest that date palm fruits could offer protection against Aβ-induced
cytotoxicity by decreasing Aβ induced free radical generation and attenuating
DNA damage and associated cell death in a dose-dependent manner, possibly by
enhancing the endogenous antioxidant defenses. The results of the study were
presented in Neurotoxicity Conference in Argentina in April 2011 and the same
will be published soon in the Journal of Neurotoxicity research.
( Courtesy: The Oman Observer