An extract derived from pineapple stem may potentially improve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study conducted in mice.
Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease generally characterised by gradual memory loss due to increased levels of amyloid-beta protein in the brain.
The affected patients are not able to remember things. In severe cases, people lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation and, eventually, control movement.
Researchers at Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab noted that the current treatment is not effective in managing the long-term effects of Alzheimer's disease on patients' quality of life
The study, recently published in the journal NeuroToxicology, found that the compound bromelain could improve Alzheimer's disease-related behaviour symptoms in mice.
The behaviour symptoms were supported by the results of biochemical and histopathological -- microscopic examination of tissue -- studies, the researchers said.
Biochemical studies included evaluation of activity of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that regulates neurotransmission and antioxidant parameters in mice brains which were significantly improved by the treatment with bromelain, they said.
"We also found significant amelioration of levels of the beta-secretase enzyme, beta-amyloid, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, tumour necrosis factor-alfa and interleukin-6 in the mouse brain after treatment with bromelain," said study corresponding author Navneet Khurana, Professor at the School of Pharmaceutical Science, LPU .
"The histopathological analysis also suggested amelioration of structures of mouse brain neurons by treatment with bromelain.
All these results suggested the possible potential of bromelain for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease," Khurana told PTI.
The researchers first induced Alzheimer's disease in mice using a combination of AlCl3 and D-galactose.
In this disease, mice were not able to recognise the places due to loss of cognitive function in the brain.
After the induction of the disease, animals were treated with different doses of bromelain and the standard drug donepezil.
The study found that bromelain was observed to improve Alzheimer's disease behaviour symptoms in mice.
"This biomolecule, bromelain, appears to be a promising therapeutic for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease," said Rakesh Kumar, Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmaceutical Science, LPU.
"It can be converted into a pharmaceutical formulation that may help in improving the quality of life of Alzheimer's disease patients.
Even the routine consumption of this biomolecule in the form of juice may also benefit Alzheimer's disease patients in improving their condition but further studies are required in this direction to warrant its clinical use," Kumar told PTI.
The research team also included Rajan Kumar, Neha Sharma, Sachin Kumar Singh, Saurabh Satija, Meenu Mehta, and Manish Vyas, all from LPU.
The researchers said bromelain is commonly consumed by people of all age groups and is present in a variety of food products, adding it has been determined to be safe for consumption.
“The mouse was used as an animal model to study its beneficial effects on Alzheimer's disease.
This beneficial effect of bromelain was not known earlier," said Khurana.
"The current treatment for Alzheimer's disease is not effective in managing the long-term effects of this disease condition on patients' quality of life," he added.