The consumption of Yerba mate(YM), green tea and coffee are all negatively linked with the development of Parkinson’s disease. They share several active compounds, remarkably polyphenols, such as chlorogenic acid(CGA). We showed that YM enhances survival of dopaminergic neurons in primary mesencephalic cultures. To investigate whether YM regulates intracellular mechanisms related with growth and survival of dopaminergic neurons, we focused on AMPK, a key signaling molecule involved in cell metabolism, strongly linked with neuroprotection and potentially activated by CGA.
As a first step to test this hypothesis, we have started with the simplified model of SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cell line. We have tested the phosphorylation status of AMPK at different concentrations and exposure times with an extract of YM and CGA. We have found that YM produced an increase in the phosphorylation of AMPK, and despite the mandatory stop produced by the pandemic, we have now produced additional preliminary results including treatment with CGA, as well the exploration of other regulatory molecules including an indirect marker of mTOR (pp70S6Kα),EGR-1 and ERK. The regulation of AMPK itself is a huge evidence of the involvement of this pathway, very attractive because of its role in paradigms of neuroprotection. Further and several work is still necessary to follow up this research line, but we have already settled down the bases of a new experimental line with a clear projection in the short term.