Washington: A plant compound found in carrots, peppers, celery, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and chamomile helps reduce age-related inflammation in the brain and memory deficits, according to a new study conducted in mice.The compound luteolin reduces age-related inflammation in the brain and related memory deficits by directly inhibiting the release of inflammatory molecules in the brain, researchers report.The researchers focused on microglial cells, specialized immune cells that reside in the brain and spinal cord. Infections stimulate microglia to produce signaling molecules, called cytokines, which spur a cascade of chemical changes in the brain. Some of these signaling molecules, the inflammatory cytokines, induce "sickness behavior": the sleepiness, loss of appetite, memory deficits and depressive behaviors that often accompany illness.Inflammation in the brain also appears to be a key contributor to age-related memory problems, said University of Illinois animal sciences professor Rodney Johnson, who led the new study. Johnson directs the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Illinois."We found previously that during normal aging, microglial cells become dysregulated and begin producing excessive levels of inflammatory cytokines. We think this contributes to cognitive aging and is a predisposing factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases," he said.
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