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2012 Grants - Pahan
Induction of BDNF and NT-3 by Cinnamon Metabolite Sodium Benzoate
Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D.
Rush University Medical Center
2012 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) are molecules in the brain. BDNF and NT-3 are sometimes described as "hormone-like" because, like hormones, they can change how cells work. They support the survival of nerve cells in the brain and may protect against nerve cell injury. Levels of both molecules are reduced in some brain regions in people with Alzheimer's disease.
Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., and colleagues have obtained preliminary evidence that levels of BDNF and NT-3 are increased in the brain after ingestion of sodium benzoate, which is used as a food preservative, and is increased in the body after ingestion of cinnamon and some other foods. Dr. Pahan and colleagues plan to study how sodium benzoate increases levels of BDNF and NT-3 in the brain. They will also study whether sodium benzoate protects nerve cells in the brains of animals that have been genetically modified to have Alzheimer's-like brain degeneration. These studies will help determine if sodium benzoate or similar chemicals should be further studied as potential treatments to prevent or slow Alzheimer's disease.