Exploring the Potential of Foodomics in the Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease


In his keynote lecture at HPLC 2023, Alejandro Cifuentes from the Laboratory of Foodomics, Institute of Food Science Research, CIAL, CSIC in Madrid, Spain, highlighted the promising application of foodomics in addressing Alzheimer's disease (AD) (1). Foodomics, an interdisciplinary approach combining techniques from genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics, is being employed to investigate the role of food compounds in the onset and progression of AD.

Neurons in Alzheimer's disease. Illustration showing amyloid plaques in brain tissue | Image Credit: © Dr_Microbe - stock.adobe.com

Neurons in Alzheimer's disease. Illustration showing amyloid plaques in brain tissue | Image Credit: © Dr_Microbe - stock.adobe.com

Cifuentes emphasized the urgent need for new strategies in combating AD, as the only treatment options are palliative and do not provide a cure. He proposed that diet and food components may hold potential in preventing or delaying the development and progression of AD. With this in mind, he presented natural sources of bioactive compounds and their neuroprotective properties.

To identify potential neuroprotective candidates, Cifuentes and his team employed green extraction processes and in vitro methods. They discovered that olive leaves extracts enriched in triterpenoids, a carotenoids-enriched extract from Dunaliella salina microalgae, and an extract from orange juice industry by-products enriched in monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and triterpenes, demonstrated high neuroprotective potential. Furthermore, these extracts exhibited significant neuroprotective activity in a neuronal cell culture model.

To further validate the findings, a transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans was employed as an AD model. In vivo experiments demonstrated that the extracts displayed notable neuroprotective effects. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms involved, the researchers utilized advanced techniques such as lipidomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics.

The integration of these diverse approaches under the foodomics umbrella allowed for a holistic investigation of the effects of neuroprotective candidates on the transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans model. By examining the lipid profiles, gene expression patterns, and metabolite profiles, the molecular mechanisms underlying the observed neuroprotective activity were elucidated.

This study represents a significant step forward in understanding the potential role of food compounds in the prevention and management of AD. The findings highlight the importance of exploring natural sources of bioactive compounds and demonstrate the power of foodomics in identifying promising candidates for further research and development of potential therapeutic interventions.


(1) Cifuentes, A. Recent Advances in the Application of Foodomics to Alzheimer’s Disease. Presented at: HPLC 2023. June 18–22, 2023. Duesseldorf, Germany. KN39.

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