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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Dietary Flavonoids as Potential Neuroprotectants

K.A. Youdim / J.P.E. Spencer / H. Schroeter / C. Rice-Evans

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 383, Issue 3-4, Pages 503–519, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2002.052, June 2005

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There is an increasing awareness of the role of certain nutritional components, including dietary flavonoids found in fruit, vegetables and beverages, in the maintenance of health and prevention of chronic diseases. In this regard, recent studies highlight an exciting role with respect to their potential neuroprotective actions, in particular towards deficits commonly observed with aging, such as reduced performance of cognitive, memory and learning tasks. These neurological functions, and possible mechanisms involved in controlling them, can be influenced by supplementation of single dietary flavonoids, or as part of a flavonoidrich preparation. With this, a renewed emphasis is aimed at further understanding their modes and sites of action. Moreover a common theme among many in vitro studies examining mechanisms of neuroprotection is the failure to include biologically relevant metabolites of the flavonoids known to enter the circulation, and thus most likely to be bioavailable to cells and tissues. This oversight will ultimately influence the mechanisms of action proposed to explain the neuroprotection observed in animals and human studies. As such, emerging findings suggest a variety of potential mechanisms of action of flavonoids and their bioavailable metabolites in cytoprotection against oxidative stress, which may be independent of conventional antioxidant reducing activities. Such mechanisms might involve their interaction with cell signalling cascades, their influence on gene expression and the down regulation of pathways leading to cell death.

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