Tau protein deposits found in the brains of those suffering Alzheimer’s disease were crucial in cognitive decline as they could disrupt the communication of the brain’s nerve cells and thus lead to their degeneration.
The research published in the Neurobiology of Ageing journal studied the effects of caffeine administered at 0.3 g/L through drinking water on mice between 2-12 months of age. The researchers treated mice so that they had an altered tau protein that could lead to development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
“In comparison to a control group which only received a placebo, the treated animals achieved significantly better results on memory tests,” said the researchers.
They found that chronic caffeine intake prevented the development of special memory deficits in tau mice through the Morris Water Maze test.
Moreover caffeine treatment eased some pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. Stress was regarded as one of the reasons for the intensification of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
A step forward
"We have taken a good step forward. The results of the study are truly promising, since we were able to show for the first time that A2A adenosine receptor antagonists actually have very positive effects in an animal model simulating hallmark characteristics and progression of the disease. And the adverse effects are minor," said professor Christa Müller from the University of Bonn.
Neurobiology of Ageing
Published online ahead of print DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.03.027
Beneficial effects of caffeine in a transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease-like tau pathology
Authors: C. Muller, D.Blum et al.