The effects of hempseed meal intake and linoleic acid on Drosophila models of neurodegenerative diseases and hypercholesterolemia

Mol Cells. 2011 Apr;31(4):337-42. doi: 10.1007/s10059-011-0042-6. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Hempseed is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which have potential as therapeutic compounds for the treatment of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease. However, the effect of hempseed meal (HSM) intake on the animal models of these diseases has yet to be elucidated. In this study, we assessed the effects of the intake of HSM and PUFAs on oxidative stress, cytotoxicity and neurological phenotypes, and cholesterol uptake, using Drosophila models. HSM intake was shown to reduce H(2)O(2) toxicity markedly, indicating that HSM exerts a profound antioxidant effect. Meanwhile, intake of HSM, as well as linoleic or linolenic acids (major PUFA components of HSM) was shown to ameliorate Aβ42-induced eye degeneration, thus suggesting that these compounds exert a protective effect against Aβ42 cytotoxicity. On the contrary, locomotion and longevity in the Parkinson's disease model and eye degeneration in the Huntington's disease model were unaffected by HSM feeding. Additionally, intake of HSM or linoleic acid was shown to reduce cholesterol uptake significantly. Moreover, linoleic acid intake has been shown to delay pupariation, and cholesterol feeding rescued the linoleic acid-induced larval growth delay, thereby indicating that linoleic acid acts antagonistically with cholesterol during larval growth. In conclusion, our results indicate that HSM and linoleic acid exert inhibitory effects on both Aβ42 cytotoxicity and cholesterol uptake, and are potential candidates for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cannabis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Compound Eye, Arthropod / drug effects
  • Compound Eye, Arthropod / metabolism
  • Compound Eye, Arthropod / pathology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Linoleic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Peptide Fragments / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Peptide Fragments / biosynthesis
  • Seeds*
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / pharmacology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antioxidants
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Cholesterol
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide