Herbal medicines have been recently employed in research and clinical studies for the potential treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and other types of dementia. The present study investigates the effect of trans-crocetin, an active constituent of Crocus sativus L., to restore in vitro the reduced ability of AD patients' monocytes to degrade amyloid-β(1-42) (Aβ42). CD14(+) monocytes from 22 sporadic AD patients with moderate cognitive impairment were isolated; then, the role of trans-crocetin, purified from saffron extracts, was evaluated in terms of Aβ42 degradation rate through flow cytometry, as well as expression of cathepsin B by Western blotting. We observed that low micromolar doses of trans-crocetin enhanced Aβ42 degradation in AD monocytes through the upregulation of the lysosomal protease cathepsin B. CA074Me, a potent and selective cathepsin B inhibitor, counteracted such trans-crocetin-induced effect. These data suggest that the carotenoid trans-crocetin improves in vitro the clearance of Aβ42 through the involvement of cathepsin B, and this could be of value in developing a new anti-amyloid strategy in AD.
- Journal Article