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Extra-virgin olive oil ameliorates cognition and neuropathology of the 3xTg mice: role of autophagy

Lauretti E, Iuliano, L, Praticò D (2017) Ann Clin Transl Neurol. June 2017 doi:10.1002/acn3.431 

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Abstract:

Objective

Consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a major component of the Mediterranean diet, has been associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the mechanisms involved in this protective action remain to be fully elucidated.

Methods

Herein, we investigated the effect of daily consumption of EVOO on the AD-like phenotype of a mouse mode of the disease with plaques and tangles.

Results

Triple transgenic mice (3xTg) received either regular chow or a chow diet supplemented with EVOO starting at 6 months of age for 6 months, then assessed for the effect of the diet on the AD-like neuropathology and behavioral changes. Compared with controls, mice receiving the EVOO-rich diet had an amelioration of their behavioral deficits, and a significant increase in the steady state levels of synaptophysin, a protein marker of synaptic integrity. In addition, they had a significant reduction in insoluble Aβ peptide levels and deposition, lower amount of phosphorylated tau protein at specific epitopes, which were secondary to an activation of cell autophagy.

Interpretation

Taken together, our findings support a beneficial effect of EVOO consumption on all major features of the AD phenotype (behavioral deficits, synaptic pathology, Aβ and tau neuropathology), and demonstrate that autophagy activation is the mechanism underlying these biological actions.