Hydroxytyrosol protects from aging process via AMPK and autophagy; a review of its effects on cancer, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, immune-mediated and neurodegenerative diseases

Pharmacol Res. 2019 May:143:58-72. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2019.03.005. Epub 2019 Mar 7.


Aging is a complex process. It is considered a risk factor for several diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, most of which have an oxidative and inflammatory base. Given that life expectancy is increasing, there is a present interest in the search for anti-aging strategies that allow a healthy aging. Interestingly, in Spain, where the Mediterranean Diet (MD) is the reference food pattern, life expectancy will have the highest average by 2040. This diet is characterized, among other items, by virgin olive oil intake, which contains between 50-200 mg/kg of hydroxytyrosol, a major polyphenolic component of olive oil. Hydroxytyrosol is formed by the hydrolysis of oleuropein during the maturing of olives, storage of olive oil, and preparation of table olives. It is a yield of oleuropein by microbiota action in the organism after virgin olive oil consumption. The daily intake in context of the MD is estimated to be around 0.15 and 30 mg/day. In the last few years, hydroxytyrosol has received increasing attention due to its multiple pharmacological activities, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic activities. It has also been the focus of extensive research regarding its bioactivity. In this sense, hydroxytyrosol is under consideration for the development of new anti-aging strategies. In this review we will summarize the potential anti-aging effects of hydroxytyrosol and its protective role in several age-related diseases.

Keywords: AMPK; Aging; Autophagy; Hydroxytyrosol; Mediterranean diet; Senescence; Sirtuin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / therapeutic use
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Protective Agents
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol