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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 7608038, 12 pages
Research Article

Oil Palm Phenolics Inhibit the In Vitro Aggregation of β-Amyloid Peptide into Oligomeric Complexes

1Biomaterials Science and Engineering Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
2Malaysian Palm Oil Board, No. 6, Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia
3Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to ChoKyun Rha

Received 17 August 2017; Revised 23 November 2017; Accepted 7 December 2017; Published 31 January 2018

Academic Editor: Francesco Panza

Copyright © 2018 Robert P. Weinberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alzheimer’s disease is a severe neurodegenerative disease characterized by the aggregation of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) into toxic oligomers which activate microglia and astrocytes causing acute neuroinflammation. Multiple studies show that the soluble oligomers of Aβ42 are neurotoxic and proinflammatory, whereas the monomers and insoluble fibrils are relatively nontoxic. We show that Aβ42 aggregation is inhibited in vitro by oil palm phenolics (OPP), an aqueous extract from the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). The data shows that OPP inhibits stacking of β-pleated sheets, which is essential for oligomerization. We demonstrate the inhibition of Aβ42 aggregation by (1) mass spectrometry; (2) Congo Red dye binding; (3) 2D-IR spectroscopy; (4) dynamic light scattering; (5) transmission electron microscopy; and (6) transgenic yeast rescue assay. In the yeast rescue assay, OPP significantly reduces the cytotoxicity of aggregating neuropeptides in yeast genetically engineered to overexpress these peptides. The data shows that OPP inhibits (1) the aggregation of Aβ into oligomers; (2) stacking of β-pleated sheets; and (3) fibrillar growth and coalescence. These inhibitory effects prevent the formation of neurotoxic oligomers and hold potential as a means to reduce neuroinflammation and neuronal death and thereby may play some role in the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.