Targeting synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease by administering a specific nutrient combination

J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;38(3):459-79. doi: 10.3233/JAD-130998.


Synapse loss and synaptic dysfunction are pathological processes already involved in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Synapses consist principally of neuronal membranes, and the neuronal and synaptic losses observed in AD have been linked to the degeneration and altered composition and structure of these membranes. Consequently, synapse loss and membrane-related pathology provide viable targets for intervention in AD. The specific nutrient combination Fortasyn Connect (FC) is designed to ameliorate synapse loss and synaptic dysfunction in AD by addressing distinct nutritional needs believed to be present in these patients. This nutrient combination comprises uridine, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, choline, phospholipids, folic acid, vitamins B12, B6, C, and E, and selenium, and is present in Souvenaid, a medical food intended for use in early AD. It has been hypothesized that FC counteracts synaptic loss and reduces membrane-related pathology in AD by providing nutritional precursors and cofactors that act together to support neuronal membrane formation and function. Preclinical studies formed the basis of this hypothesis which is being validated in a broad clinical study program investigating the potential of this nutrient combination in AD. Memory dysfunction is one key early manifestation in AD and is associated with synapse loss. The clinical studies to date show that the FC-containing medical food improves memory function and preserves functional brain network organization in mild AD compared with controls, supporting the hypothesis that this intervention counteracts synaptic dysfunction. This review provides a comprehensive overview of basic scientific studies that led to the creation of FC and of its effects in various preclinical models.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Fortasyn Connect; Souvenaid; amyloid-β; membrane; neurotransmission; nutrition; phospholipid; synaptic dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diet therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status
  • Synapses / pathology
  • Synapses / physiology*