Caffeine can positively influence the course of Alzheimer's disease

22-Mar-2022 - Germany
"Natural methylxanthines, the best-known representative of which is caffeine, are pharmacologically active substances that are supplied to the body via the diet - for example, coffee, tea and cocoa. In addition to caffeine, theobromine and theophylline are naturally occurring methylxanthines, whereas propentofylline and pentoxifylline, among others, are synthetically produced methylxanthines. The individual representatives of this substance class show similar effects on the organism, but to varying degrees. Due to their blood pressure-increasing effect and the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias, methylxanthines were long regarded as potentially negative. However, this picture has changed in recent years," explains Prof. Dr. habil. Marcus Grimm, head of the bachelor's program in nutrition therapy and counseling at the Rheinland Campus in Leverkusen.

According to the study, both naturally occurring methylxanthines and synthetic ones are used to treat various diseases, primarily acute and chronic respiratory diseases, as they dilate the airways and improve the function of the respiratory muscles. In addition, methylxanthines are potentially protective in neurodegenerative diseases. The research group of Prof. Dr. habil. Marcus Grimm was already able to show in an earlier study that methylxanthines can positively influence the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the release of a small protein molecule called amyloid-β-peptide from a larger precursor protein molecule. During the course of the disease, the released amyloid-β peptides accumulate to form the characteristic senile plaques in the brain. In the aforementioned study, it was demonstrated that methylxanthines can reduce both the release of amyloid-β peptide and the aggregation of amyloid-β peptide, and thus inhibit the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Furthermore, methylxanthines have been shown in various studies to have an effect on blood lipids, particularly triglycerides. However, it was previously unknown whether the individual methylxanthines behave identically with regard to lipid composition and to what extent they have different effects on other lipid classes that play a role in Alzheimer's disease. The aim of the recently published study by Prof. Dr. habil. Marcus Grimm and his team at Saarland University in cooperation with the SRH University of Health was - in order to assess in particular the potential positive influence on neurodegenerative diseases - to investigate the influence of different methylxanthines on cell lines with neuronal properties.

In the study, the mainly occurring natural methylxanthines (caffeine, theobromine and theophylline) and the synthetically pharmacologically used ones (propentofylline and pentoxifylline) were investigated. This showed that there are methylxanthine-induced effects on lipid composition that depend on the methylxanthine class, but there are also individual effects of individual methylxanthines on lipid composition. Among others, caffeine favorably influenced the lipid profile with respect to Alzheimer's disease in the analyzed neuronal cell lines, so that methylxanthines and especially caffeine may represent an additional important component, besides a healthy diet high in polyunsaturated long fatty acids, in the prophylaxis and slowing down of the disease progression.

During his habilitation at Saarland University, Prof. Dr. habil. Marcus Grimm established a molecular and cell biological research laboratory with an additional focus on the analysis of lipids. He continues to carry out this activity, so that the laboratory is available to interested students of the SRH University of Health in cooperation as part of the German Institute for Dementia Prevention.
kaboompics / Pixabay

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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