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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 4720532, 14 pages
Research Article

Palmitoylethanolamide Dampens Reactive Astrogliosis and Improves Neuronal Trophic Support in a Triple Transgenic Model of Alzheimer’s Disease: In Vitro and In Vivo Evidence

1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2Department of Psychiatry, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy
3Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Tommaso Cassano

Received 25 May 2017; Revised 2 October 2017; Accepted 23 October 2017; Published 16 January 2018

Academic Editor: Bruno Meloni

Copyright © 2018 Maria Rosanna Bronzuoli 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 (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder responsible for the majority of dementia cases in elderly people. It is widely accepted that the main hallmarks of AD are not only senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles but also reactive astrogliosis, which often precedes detrimental deposits and neuronal atrophy. Such phenomenon facilitates the regeneration of neural networks; however, under some circumstances, like in AD, reactive astrogliosis is detrimental, depriving neurons of the homeostatic support, thus contributing to neuronal loss. We investigated the presence of reactive astrogliosis in 3×Tg-AD mice and the effects of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), a well-documented anti-inflammatory molecule, by in vitro and in vivo studies. In vitro results revealed a basal reactive state in primary cortical 3×Tg-AD-derived astrocytes and the ability of PEA to counteract such phenomenon and improve viability of 3×Tg-AD-derived neurons. In vivo observations, performed using ultramicronized- (um-) PEA, a formulation endowed with best bioavailability, confirmed the efficacy of this compound. Moreover, the schedule of treatment, mimicking the clinic use (chronic daily administration), revealed its beneficial pharmacological properties in dampening reactive astrogliosis and promoting the glial neurosupportive function. Collectively, our results encourage further investigation on PEA effects, suggesting it as an alternative or adjunct treatment approach for innovative AD therapy.