Espresso effectively protects against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. This is because various compounds present in espresso prevent, among other things, the deposition of tau proteins.
In a new study, experts from the University of Verona examined the molecular composition of espresso, identified its main components and, in various experiments, analyzed how the extract affects the tau protein. The results can be read in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”.
What role does tau play in Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s belongs to a group of diseases called tauopathies, which are characterized by the intraneuronal accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein tau in fibrillar aggregates, the team explains.
Some previous research has already suggested that coffee reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. For example, one study showed that caffeine present in coffee, together with the eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide contained in it, protects the brain from degenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson’s by preventing the formation of harmful protein accumulations (Lewy bodies).
Effects of espresso examined
In the new study, the researchers have now devoted themselves to a popular type of coffee preparation, espresso. They characterized its molecular composition and identified the main components in order to investigate possible effects against neurodegenerative diseases. They also carried out various in vitro experiments and tests on cells.
This showed that the extract has biological properties that prevent the aggregation, condensation and seeding activity of the so-called repeat region of tau, explains the team. In addition, various coffee compounds were identified that can bind to preformed tau fibrils.
New therapies on the horizon
Overall, the results obtained provide new insights into the neuroprotective potential of espresso and lay the foundations for the development of therapies targeting monomeric or fibrillated forms of tau, the experts add.
The results could also mean that many people around the world are already benefiting from the protective effects of coffee against neurodegenerative diseases and, taken together, the study shows that coffee, and espresso in particular, contains ingredients that prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s. (as)