Background: Polyphenols are probably the most known and investigated
molecules of nutritional interest as micronutrients present in
abundance in our diet. Some of the most important food sources of polyphenols
in the Mediterranean diet are olives and olive oil. A growing body
of evidence from animal models to clinical studies indicates that polyphenol
compounds may have neuroprotective effects in several pathologies of the
nervous system through the control of oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis
and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Objective: Based on the most recent scientific literature, dietary intake of
polyphenols attenuates oxidative stress and reduces risk for related neurodegenerative diseases
such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and
Huntington’s disease. Also at the peripheral level, they act as antioxidant, defending tissues
against oxidative damage and scavenging free radicals.
Results: Recent findings in animal models and humans show that polyphenols may have a
role in regulating neurotrophins levels, in particular nerve growth factor (NGF) and brainderived
neurotrophic factor (BDNF), suggesting that polyphenols may also induce their protective
effects through the potentiation of neurotrophins action. NGF and BDNF, primarily
known as biological mediators stimulating neuron growth, proliferation, survival and differentiation
are recently studied also as metabotrophic factors, acting on glucose and energy
metabolism, pancreatic beta cells and cardiovascular homeostasis.
Conclusion: In this context, a better understanding of the effects of polyphenols on neurotrophins
and their receptors (TrkA, TrkB, p75NTR) could certainly generate interest for
drug discovery and also for the potential dietary prevention of several neurological and cardiometabolic