Summary: Recent in vitro research reveals that espresso may offer more than a caffeine jolt. The study indicates that certain compounds in espresso can inhibit tau protein aggregation, a process implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers identified that the complete espresso extract, along with caffeine and genistein, when increased in concentration, resulted in shorter tau fibrils, preventing the formation of larger, potentially harmful aggregates. Though the research is in its preliminary stages, these findings could guide future exploration of bioactive compounds against neurodegenerative diseases.
The study found that espresso compounds, especially the complete extract, caffeine, and genistein, can inhibit tau protein aggregation—a process associated with Alzheimer’s onset.
As the concentration of espresso extract, caffeine, or genistein increased, tau fibrils were shorter and didn’t form larger, potentially harmful aggregates.
These in vitro findings might pave the way for discovering or designing other bioactive compounds that could protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Source: American Chemical Society
Whether enjoyed on its own or mixed into a latte, Americano or even a martini, espresso provides an ultra-concentrated jolt of caffeine to coffee lovers. But it might do more than just wake you up.
Research now published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that, in preliminary in vitro laboratory tests, espresso compounds can inhibit tau protein aggregation — a process that is believed to be involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Roughly half of all Americans drink coffee every day, and espresso is a popular way to consume it. To “pull” an espresso shot, hot water is forced through finely ground coffee beans, creating a concentrated extract. This is often used as a base for other drinks, including the trendy espresso martini.
Recent research has suggested that coffee could also have beneficial effects against certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Although the exact mechanisms that cause these conditions are still unclear, it’s thought that a protein called tau plays a significant role.
In healthy people, tau proteins help stabilize structures in the brain, but when certain diseases develop, the proteins can clump together into fibrils. Some researchers propose that preventing this aggregation could alleviate symptoms.
So, Mariapina D’Onofrio and colleagues wanted to see if compounds in espresso could prevent tau aggregation in vitro.
The researchers pulled espresso shots from store-bought beans, then characterized their chemical makeup using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
They chose caffeine and trigonelline, both alkaloids, the flavonoid genistein and theobromine, a compound also found in chocolate, to focus on in further experiments. These molecules, along with the complete espresso extract, were incubated alongside a shortened form of the tau protein for up to 40 hours.
As the concentration of espresso extract, caffeine or genistein increased, fibrils were shorter and didn’t form larger sheets, with the complete extract showing the most dramatic results. Shortened fibrils were found to be non-toxic to cells, and they did not act as “seeds” for further aggregation.
In other experiments, the researchers observed that caffeine and the espresso extract could both bind pre-formed tau fibrils.
Although much more research is needed, the team says that their preliminary in vitro findings could pave the way toward finding or designing other bioactive compounds against neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
About this Alzheimer’s disease research news
Author: Katie Cottingham Source: ACS Contact: Katie Cottingham – ACS Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News
Espresso coffee mitigates the aggregation and condensation of Alzheimer’s associated tau protein
Espresso coffee is among the most consumed beverages in the world. Recent studies report a protective activity of the coffee beverage against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer′s disease.
Alzheimer′s disease belongs to a group of disorders, called tauopathies, which are characterized by the intraneuronal accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein tau in fibrillar aggregates. In this work, we characterized by NMR the molecular composition of the espresso coffee extract and identified its main components.
We then demonstrated with in vitro and in cell experiments that the whole coffee extract, caffeine, and genistein have biological properties in preventing aggregation, condensation, and seeding activity of the repeat region of tau. We also identified a set of coffee compounds capable of binding to preformed tau fibrils.
These results add insights into the neuroprotective potential of espresso coffee and suggest candidate molecular scaffolds for designing therapies targeting monomeric or fibrillized forms of tau.