Effects of dietary supplementation with N-acetyl cysteine, acetyl-L-carnitine and S-adenosyl methionine on cognitive performance and aggression in normal mice and mice expressing human ApoE4

Neuromolecular Med. 2007;9(3):264-9. doi: 10.1007/s12017-007-8005-y.


In addition to cognitive impairment, behavioral changes such as aggressive behavior, depression, and psychosis accompany Alzheimer's Disease. Such symptoms may arise due to imbalances in neurotransmitters rather than overt neurodegeneration. Herein, we demonstrate that combined administration of N-acetyl cysteine (an antioxidant and glutathione precursor that protects against A beta neurotoxicity), acetyl-L-carnitine (which raises ATP levels, protects mitochondria, and buffers A beta neurotoxicity), and S-adenosylmethionine (which facilitates glutathione usage and maintains acetylcholine levels) enhanced or maintain cognitive function, and attenuated or prevented aggression, in mouse models of aging and neurodegeneration. Enhancement of cognitive function was rapidly reversed upon withdrawal of the formulation and restored following additional rounds supplementation. Behavioral abnormalities correlated with a decline in acetylcholine, which was also prevented by this nutriceutical combination, suggesting that neurotransmitter imbalance may contribute to their manifestation. Treatment with this nutriceutical combination was able to compensate for lack of dietary folate and vitamin E, coupled with administration of dietary iron as a pro-oxidant (which collectively increase homocysteine and oxidative damage to brain tissue), indicating that it provided antioxidant neuroprotection. Maintenance of neurotransmitter levels and prevention of oxidative damage underscore the efficacy of a therapeutic approach that utilizes a combination of neuroprotective agents.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcarnitine / pharmacology*
  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology*
  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / metabolism*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / pharmacology*


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Acetylcarnitine
  • S-Adenosylmethionine
  • Acetylcysteine