Hazelnut and neuroprotection: Improved memory and hindered anxiety in response to intra-hippocampal Aβ injection

Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Jul;20(6):317-326. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2015.1126954. Epub 2016 Jan 25.


Objectives: Corylus avellana L. (hazelnut) is known to be a delicious and nutritious food. This study was carried out to evaluate the use of hazelnut as a therapy for memory impairment because in Iranian traditional medicine, it is recommended for those suffering from a particular type of dementia, with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Methods: In this study, rats were fed with hazelnut kernel [(without skin) 800 mg/kg/day] during 1 week before stereotaxic surgery to 24 hours before behavioral testing (in general, for 16 consecutive days) and the effect of hazelnut eating on memory, anxiety, neuroinflammation and apoptosis was assessed in the amyloid beta-injected rat.

Results: The results of this study showed that feeding with hazelnut improved memory, (which was examined by using Y-maze test and shuttle box apparatus), and reduced anxiety-related behavior, that was evaluated using elevated plus maze. Also, western blotting analysis of cyclooxygenase-2, interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2-associated X protein, and caspase-3 showed that hazelnut has an ameliorating effect on the neuroinflammation and apoptosis caused by Aβ.

Discussion: These findings suggest that hazelnut, as a dietary supplement, improves healthy aging and could be a beneficial diet for the treatment of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Anxiety; Apoptosis; Hazelnut; Memory; Neuroinflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Apoptosis
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Corylus* / growth & development
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ethnobotany
  • Functional Food*
  • Hippocampus / immunology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Maze Learning
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Memory*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotection*
  • Nuts* / growth & development
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins