The novel anti-fibrillary effects of volatile compounds α-asarone and β-caryophyllene on tau protein: Towards promising therapeutic agents for Alzheimer’s disease

Int J Biol Macromol. 2024 Jun;271(Pt 2):132401. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2024.132401. Epub 2024 May 17.


The abnormal deposition of tau protein is one of the critical causes of tauopathies including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In recent years, there has been great interest in the use of essential oils and volatile compounds in aromatherapy for treating AD, since volatile compounds can directly reach the brain through intranasal administration. The volatile compounds α-asarone (ASA) and β-caryophyllene (BCP) have revealed various important neuroprotective properties, useful in treating AD. In this study, the volatile compounds ASA and BCP were assessed for their effectiveness in preventing tau fibrillation, disassembly of pre-formed tau fibrils, and disaggregation of tau aggregates. SDS-PAGE and AFM analyses revealed that ASA and BCP inhibited tau fibrillation/aggregation and decreased the mean size of tau oligomers. Tau samples treated with ASA and BCP, showed a reduction in ThT and ANS fluorescence intensities, and a decrease in the β-sheet content. Additionally, ASA and BCP disassembled the pre-formed tau fibrils to the granular and linear oligomeric intermediates. Treatment of neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells with tau samples treated with ASA and BCP, revealed protective effects as shown by reduced toxicity of the cells, due to the inhibition of tau fibrillation/aggregation. Overall, ASA and BCP appeared to be promising therapeutic candidates for AD.

PMID:38761902 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2024.132401