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Compound In Strawberries Delays Onset Of Huntington’s Symptoms In Mice

November 15, 2010: 03:29 PM EST

U.S. scientists have found that a naturally occurring compound in strawberries slows down the appearance of motor defects and prolongs life in mouse models of Huntington’s disease. An inherited disorder, Huntington's destroys neurons in the brain, slowly eroding the ability to walk, talk and reason. A genetic defect leads to the expansion of a trinucleotide repeat in the huntingtin protein, which keeps repeating until the onset of the disease. An intracellular signaling cascade affected by the mutant huntingtin protein is the Ras/ERK pathway. Earlier studies had determined that fisetin showed neuroprotective and memory-enhancing effects by activating the Ras/ERK signaling pathway, which is less active in people with HD. The researchers have developed a potent variety of fisetin that they hope to test in human trials of HD and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Pamela Maher, Ph.D., et al., "ERK activation by the polyphenols fisetin and resveratrol provides neuroprotection in multiple models of Huntington's disease", Human Molecular Genetics, November 15, 2010, © Oxford University Press
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