Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that polyphenolics derived from red grape seeds may be useful agents to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This new study, published in the September issue of Journal of Neuroscience, explored the possibility of developing “wine mimetic pills” that would replace the recommended beneficial glass of red wine a day for AD prevention.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive impairments in memory and cognition,” said Giulio Maria Pasinetti, PhD, senior author and director of the NCCAM-NIH funded Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Alzheimer’s Disease at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “The study used a naturally derived grape seed polyphenolic extract and demonstrated its efficacy to reduce AD-type Aβ neuropathology as well as cognitive deterioration in the Tg2576 AD mouse model. This natural compound is immediately available to be tested in AD clinical settings to prevent or treat AD.”

Over the past few years researchers at Mount Sinai’s Center of Excellence set out to determine whether the FDA’s recommended daily servings of red wine (approximately one glass for women and two glasses for men), might have the same positive health effect that studies and surveys of populations had shown in the past. They are currently investigating nearly 5,000 compounds contained in red wine.

This new study explored the possibility of developing ‘wine mimetic pills’ that would replace the beneficial glass of red wine a day for AD prevention. Pasinetti and his collaborator Jun Wang, PhD, of Mount Sinai, tested the hypothesis that certain molecules contained in red wine, in particular in red grape seeds currently being developed with the name of Meganatural AZ, might offset disease progression in mice genetically modified to develop Alzheimer’ disease.

“Meganatural AZ grape seed extracts significantly reduced Alzheimer’s disease – type cognitive deterioration in the Alzheimer’ disease mice through mechanisms that prevents the formation of a more complex form of a molecule known as amyloid in the brain,” said Pasinetti. “The implications of these studies, however, are not limited to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, amyloid is present in everyone’s brain and whenever it comes together in a more complex structure it makes the brain to function less efficiently like in Alzheimer’ disease. As a result, Meganatural AZ compounds’ ability to inhibit the formation of such ‘more complex’ amyloid structures suggests that Meganatural AZ from red grapes might even help prevent memory loss in people that did not yet developed Alzheimer’s disease.”