Anthocyanins Protect SK-N-SH Cells Against Acrolein-Induced Toxicity by Preserving the Cellular Redox State

J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;50(4):981-98. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150770.


In Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients, by-products of lipid peroxidation such as acrolein accumulated in vulnerable regions of the brain. We have previously shown that acrolein is a highly reactive and neurotoxic aldehyde and its toxicity involves the alteration of several redox-sensitive pathways. Recently, protein-conjugated acrolein in cerebrospinal fluid has been proposed as a biomarker to distinguish between MCI and AD. With growing evidence of the early involvement of oxidative stress in AD etiology, one would expect that a successful therapy should prevent brain oxidative damage. In this regard, several studies have demonstrated that polyphenol-rich extracts exert beneficial effect on cognitive impairment and oxidative stress. We have recently demonstrated the efficacy of an anthocyanin formulation (MAF14001) against amyloid-β-induced oxidative stress. The aim of this study is to investigate the neuroprotective effect of MAF14001 as a mixture of anthocyanins, a particular class of polyphenols, against acrolein-induced oxidative damage in SK-N-SH neuronal cells. Our results demonstrated that MAF14001, from 5μM, was able to efficiently protect SK-N-SH cells against acrolein-induced cell death. MAF14001 was able to lower reactive oxygen species and protein carbonyl levels induced by acrolein. Moreover, MAF1401 prevented glutathione depletion and positively modulated, in the presence of acrolein, some oxidative stress-sensitive pathways including the transcription factors NF-κB and Nrf2, the proteins γ-GCS and GSK3β, and the protein adaptator p66Shc. Along with its proven protective effect against amyloid-β toxicity, these results demonstrate that MAF14001 could target multiple mechanisms and could be a promising agent for AD prevention.

Keywords: Acrolein; Alzheimer’s disease; anthocyanins; antioxidant; glutathione; oxidative stress; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / toxicity*
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Src Homology 2 Domain-Containing, Transforming Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • NF-kappa B
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • SHC1 protein, human
  • Src Homology 2 Domain-Containing, Transforming Protein 1
  • Acrolein
  • Glutathione