Natural antioxidants in Alzheimer's disease

Cesare Mancuso, Timothy E. Bates, D. Allan Butterfield, Stella Calafato, Carolin Cornelius, Antonino De Lorenzo, Albena T. Dinkova Kostova, Vittorio Calabrese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterised by severe cognitive impairment that ultimately leads to death. Current drugs used in AD are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and antagonists to the NMDA receptors. These drugs may only slightly improve cognitive functions but have only very limited impact on the clinical course of the disease. In the past several years, based on in vitro and in vivo studies in laboratory animals, natural antioxidants, such as resveratrol, curcumin and acetyl-L-carnitine have been proposed as alternative therapeutic agents for AD. An increasing number of studies demonstrated the efficacy of primary antioxidants, such as polyphenols, or secondary antioxidants, such as acetylcarnitine, to reduce or to block neuronal death occurring in the pathophysiology of this disorder. These studies revealed that other mechanisms than the antioxidant activities could be involved in the neuroprotective effect of these compounds. This paper discusses the evidence for the role of acetylcarnitine in modulating redox-dependent mechanisms leading to the upregulation of vitagenes. Furthermore, future development of novel antioxidant drugs targeted to the mitochondria should result in effectively slowing disease progression. The association with new drug delivery systems may be desirable and useful for the therapeutic use of antioxidants in human neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1921-1931
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Acetyl-L-carnitine
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Curcumin
  • Haem oxygenase
  • Heat-shock proteins
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitagenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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