University of Malta

Department of Physiology and Biochemistry
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Identification of neuroprotectants from terrestial and marine plant extracts in neurodegenerative disorders of the amyloid type. [acronym: ‘neuroamyloid’]

Amyloidogenic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and prion diseases are major neurological conditions with an increasing prevalence rate in the general population. These disorders are characterized by misfolding, aggregation and accumulation of proteins inside or outside cells. A unifying characteristic of these molecules is that they bind to target membranes and assemble into multimeric, membrane-spanning pores, a process that leads to cellular damage and death. The fact that such a diverse group of diseases have a similar structural origin strongly indicates that a common therapy might be possible. Our aim is to use robust molecular screens to identify novel bioactive compounds from terrestrial and marine plants that would be able to inhibit and/or destabilize clumping by amyloid proteins. Furthermore, the most promising drugs will be tested directly on neuronal cultures. Bioactive plant compounds can be marketed as food supplements or used as nutraceuticals and even pharmaceuticals, intended for the chemoprevention of these late-life degenerative disorders.


Identification of novel terrestrial and marine plant metabolites which can impact health through prevention of amyloid pathology.

Last Updated: 12 December 2008

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