Oleuropein and derivatives from olives as Tau aggregation inhibitors

Neurochem Int. 2011 May;58(6):700-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2011.02.010. Epub 2011 Feb 17.


Tau isoforms constitute a family of microtubule-associated proteins that are mainly expressed in neurons of the central nervous system. They promote the assembly of tubulin monomers into microtubules and modulate their stability, thus playing a key structural role in the distal portion of axons. In Alzheimer's disease and related tauopathies, Tau aggregation into fibrillary tangles contributes to intraneuronal and glial lesions. We report herein the ability of three natural phenolic derivatives obtained from olives and derived food products to prevent such Tau fibrillization in vitro, namely hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, and oleuropein aglycone. The latter was found to be more active than the reference Tau aggregation inhibitor methylene blue on both wild-type and P301L Tau proteins, inhibiting fibrillization at low micromolar concentrations. These findings might provide further experimental support for the beneficial nutritional properties of olives and olive oil as well as a chemical scaffold for the development of new drugs aiming at neurodegenerative tauopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Olea / chemistry*
  • Pyrans / pharmacology*
  • tau Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Pyrans
  • tau Proteins
  • oleuropein