All activities of people need oxygen, and free radicals are generated during the process of oxygen consumption. Excessive free radicals cause an imbalance in the body’s antioxidant system, that is, oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can damage cells and tissues and even lead to chronic diseases. Among various tissues, the human brain has a high oxygen demand but has limited antioxidant capacity and is most susceptible to oxidative stress. A large amount of evidence indicates that oxidative stress may be one of the main pathological factors in the occurrence and development of neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, the development of food-based active ingredients with the ability to resist oxidative stress is an effective strategy to prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Considering the above reasons, the intake of natural active ingredients that directly eliminate excess active oxygen and continue to activate the endogenous antioxidant defense system will have a competitive advantage in health protection.
In recent years, natural compounds have gradually become a potential alternative method for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, and phenolic compounds have attracted more and more attention as the preferred ingredients. 5-n-Alkyl resorcinols (ARs) are special phenolic compounds in grain bran. As a biomarker of whole grain foods, ARs have a variety of biological activities. ARs can prevent chronic diseases such as lowering plasma cholesterol, anti-obesity effect, anti-inflammatory ability, and treatment of age-related macular degeneration and colon cancer. In addition, ARs also exhibit potential antioxidant effects. Therefore, it is urgent to study the neuroprotective effects of ARs.
In this study, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced mouse hippocampal neuron HT22 cells were selected as the injury model to study the composition of wheat bran ARs homologs and the potential mechanism of their neuroprotective effects. The results showed that the ARs of wheat bran were mainly composed of C17:0, C19:1, C19:0, C21:1, C21:0, C23:0 and C25:0. ARs significantly increased the cell survival rate of HT22 cells induced by H2O2, and decreased the levels of intracellular ROS and MDA. In addition, ARs promoted nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and up-regulated the expression of genes and proteins of four ARE-dependent antioxidant enzymes (HO-1, NQO1, GCLC and GCLM). In summary, wheat ARs have a significant protective effect on HT22 cell damage caused by H2O2, which may be related to the regulation of the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway. ARs are dietary ingredients with neurodegenerative protection and can promote human health. Related research results were published in Food and Function magazine in October 2020 under the title”Potential neuroprotection of wheat alkylresorcinols in hippocampal neurons via Nrf2/ARE pathway”. Dr. Fengjiao Fan of our school is the first author, and Professor Yong Fang is the corresponding author. The research was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
Link to the paper:https://doi.org/10.1039/D0FO02285C