Representing one of the most important lifestyle factors, diet can strongly influence the incidence and onset of cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Evidence suggests that flavonoids are highly effective in reversing age-related declines in neuro-cognitive performance through their ability to interact with the cellular and molecular architecture of the brain responsible for memory and by reducing neuronal loss due to neurodegenerative processes. In particular, they may increase the number of, and strength of, connections between neurons, via their specific interactions with the ERK and Akt pathways, leading to an increase in neurotrophins such as BDNF. Concurrently, their effects on the peripheral and cerebral vascular system may also lead to enhancements in cognitive performance through increased brain blood flow and an ability to initiate neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Finally, they have also been shown to reduce neuronal damage and losses induced by various neurotoxic species and neuroinflammation. Together, these processes act to maintain the number and quality of synaptic connections in the brain, a factor known to be essential for efficient long term potentiation (LTP), synaptic plasticity and ultimately the efficient working of memory. This chapter will highlight the neuroprotective mechanisms of flavonoids through their ability interact with neuronal signalling pathways, an ability to suppress neuroinflammation, their potential to promote memory, learning and cognitive function and their impact on the vascular system.
|Title of host publication||Phytochemicals and Human Health: Pharmacological and Molecular Aspects - A Tribute to Late Professor Bimal Kumar Bachhawat|
|Editors||Akhlaq A. Farooqui, Tahira Farooqui|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc|
|Number of pages||29|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
|Name||Food Science and Technology; Public Health in the 21st Century|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|