Background: Epidemiological studies have associated estrogen replacement therapy with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, but a higher risk of developing breast cancer and certain cardiovascular disorders. The neuroprotective effect of estrogen prompted us to determine potential therapeutic impact of soy-derived estrogenic compounds. Transgenic C. elegans, that express human beta amyloid (Abeta), were fed with soy derived isoflavones genistein, daidzein and glycitein (100 microg/ml) and then examined for Abeta-induced paralysis and the levels of reactive oxygen species.
Results: Among the three compounds tested, only glycitein alleviated Abeta expression-induced paralysis in the transgenic C. elegans. This activity of glycitein correlated with a reduced level of hydrogen peroxide in the transgenic C. elegans. In vitro scavenging effects of glycitein on three types of reactive oxygen species confirmed its antioxidant properties. Furthermore, the transgenic C. elegans fed with glycitein exhibited reduced formation of beta amyloid.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that a specific soy isoflavone glycitein may suppress Abeta toxicity through combined antioxidative activity and inhibition of Abeta deposition, thus may have therapeutic potential for prevention of Abeta associated neurodegenerative disorders.