Huperzine A (HupA) comes from the Chinese medicine Huperzia serrata (Qian Ceng Ta). It is an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor, which slows AD symptoms. AChEIs have been shown to increase learning and memory in Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (VaD.) (HupA is from lycopodium.)
The present study reviews the protective functions of HupA, such as controlling the beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP,) protecting from beta-amyloid-mediated oxidation, apoptosis, mitochondrial damage and inflammation in nerve cells. AChE inhibitors are known to alter the production of APP.
Exposing cells to HupA before exposure to beta-amyloid helped cells to maintain normal levels of the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase and reduced cellular oxidative damage, also. HupA was shown to reduce apoptosis of cells exposed to beta-amyloid.
Mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse, can be damaged by beta-amyloid and become increasingly dysfunctional in AD. Mitochondrial function is improved in beta-amyloid exposed cells by HupA, possibly by reducing reactive oxygen species.
The authors studied the effects of HupA on beta-amyloid, on the collection of beta-amyloid into extracellular senile plaques and on the formation of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT.)
CONCLUSION: Beta-amyloid is important in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD.) Altering beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and reducing beta-amyloid toxicity seem to reduce Alzheimer’s disease. The neuroprotective and anti-apoptosis effects of Huperzine A help patients with AD and VaD. Perhaps, further protective effects will be found.
NOTE: Cell Guard is a product which contains the intracellular enzymes glutathione peroxidase, serum oxide dismutase and catalase. Lycopodium is a type of moss.
Read about the role of fatty acids and DHA in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
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