The neuroprotective effects of caffeine in neurodegenerative diseases

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2017 Apr;23(4):272-290. doi: 10.1111/cns.12684.


Caffeine is the most widely used psychostimulant in Western countries, with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), caffeine is beneficial in both men and women, in humans and animals. Similar effects of caffeine were observed in men with Parkinson's disease (PD); however, the effect of caffeine in female PD patients is controversial due to caffeine's competition with estrogen for the estrogen-metabolizing enzyme, CYP1A2. Studies conducted in animal models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) showed protective effects of A2A R antagonism. A study found caffeine to be associated with earlier age of onset of Huntington's disease (HD) at intakes >190 mg/d, but studies in animal models have found equivocal results. Caffeine is protective in AD and PD at dosages equivalent to 3-5 mg/kg. However, further research is needed to investigate the effects of caffeine on PD in women. As well, the effects of caffeine in ALS, HD and Machado-Joseph disease need to be further investigated. Caffeine's most salient mechanisms of action relevant to neurodegenerative diseases need to be further explored.

Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Huntington disease; Parkinson disease; adenosine receptor; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; caffeine; dosage; neurodegenerative disease; neuroprotection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Caffeine