Researchers have determined how omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 can boost the immune system’s capability to remove the brain of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers discovered signaling networks and key genes regulated by the omega-3 fatty acid DHA and also vitamin D3 which can help manage inflammation and greatly boost plaque clearance.
Earlier lab work by the researchers helped explain key mechanisms involved with assisting vitamin D3 to clear the abnormal protein amyloid-beta, which is found within the plaque. The current research extends the earlier results with vitamin D3 and emphasizes the part that omega-3 DHA plays.
The researchers took blood samples from Alzheimer’s patients as well as healthy controls, then isolated important immune cells known as macrophages from the blood. These immune cells are responsible for gobbling up amyloid-beta as well as other waste products inside the body and brain.
They incubated the macrophages over night together with amyloid-beta. They then added either an active type of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA known as resolvin D1 or an active type of vitamin D3 known as 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 to a few of the cells to evaluate the effect that they had on amyloid-beta absorption and inflammation.
Both resolvin D1 and 1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 improved the capability of the Alzheimer’s patients’ immune cells to gobble-up amyloid-beta, in addition they inhibited the cell death that’s caused by amyloid-beta. The researchers found that each nutrition molecule made use of different receptors and common signaling pathways to accomplish this.
Masoumi A1, Goldenson B, Ghirmai S, Avagyan H, Zaghi J, Abel K, Zheng X, Espinosa-Jeffrey A, Mahanian M, Liu PT, Hewison M, Mizwickie M, Cashman J, Fiala M. 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 interacts with curcuminoids to stimulate amyloid-beta clearance by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;17(3):703-17. PMID: 19433889.