Neuroinflammatory processes in cognitive disorders: Is there a role for flavonoids and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in counteracting their detrimental effects?

Neurochem Int. 2015 Oct;89:63-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2015.08.004. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Neuroinflammatory processes are known to contribute to the cascade of events culminating in the neuronal damage that underpins neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. With the ageing population and increased cases of neurodegenerative diseases, there is a crucial need for the development of new strategies capable to prevent, delay the onset or treat brain dysfunction and associated cognitive decline. Growing evidence sheds light on the use of dietary polyphenols and n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids to improve cognitive performance and reduce the neuroinflammatory and oxidative stress responses occurring with age and neurodegenerative pathologies. This review will summarise the most recent information related to the impact and mechanisms underlying the neuroinflammatory processes in neurodegenerative disorders. We will also detail the current evidence indicating that flavonoids and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are strong candidates in preventing neuroinflammation and modulating age-related memory decline, and we will describe the potential mechanisms of action underlying their neuroprotective effects. As such, these dietary bioactives represent important precursor molecules in the quest to develop a new generation of drugs capable of counteracting neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cognitive disorders; Flavonoids; Microglia; Neuroinflammation; n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / immunology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / immunology
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Microglia / drug effects
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Flavonoids
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Neuroprotective Agents