The beneficial effects of coffee against Alzheimer’s disease

Giving caffeine in drinking water to mice that develop lesions characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease improves memory test scores, according to a study published in Neurobiology of Aging.

Caffeine, but also coffee, have both already been the subject of interesting results against Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent form of dementia which remains incurable to this day. Experimental studies on caffeine have already focused on models mimicking the amyloid pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.

This new study, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Lille and the University of Bonn, focuses on a transgenic mouse model with an alteration of the tau protein, which leads to its deposition in the brain, exactly as in Alzheimer’s disease. They gave the mice early caffeine in the drinking water, at a rate of 300 mg/l.

Better results on memory tests

Compared to animals that received only water, those exposed to caffeine showed better results in the test used to assess memory (the Morris water maze). Memory enhancement is found to be associated with reduced phosphorylation of tau protein and proteolytic fragments in the hippocampus. They also find that caffeine attenuates several markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in the hippocampus of this animal model. The authors conclude that these beneficial effects associated with moderate caffeine consumption should now be the subject of clinical evaluations in humans.

Laurent C.: Beneficial effects of caffeine in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease-like tau pathology. Neurobiol Aging. 35(9): 2079-90.

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