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Zooming the link between diet and brain health: how phenolic metabolites modulate brain inflammation

Project description

How dietary phenolics delay neurodegenerative diseases

It is believed that a diet rich in phenolics delays neurodegenerative diseases in the ageing population. However, the mechanistic actions of phenolics in brain health remain under examination. The EU-funded LIMBo project aims to analyse the ability of dietary phenolics to prevent and delay neuroinflammation, a central process in neurodegenerative diseases. The project will focus on metabolites derived from dietary phenolics by investigating their effects in both the established and unknown pathways of microglia cells. LIMBo will deliver essential knowledge that improves understanding of the diversity of phenolic metabolites, their specific impact on neuroinflammation and the potential use as pro-drugs. Moreover, it will produce valuable scientific insights for future implementation of healthy brain diets.


Currently a big concern of our aging society is to efficiently delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases which are progressively rising in incidence. The paradigm that a diet rich in the phenolics, prevalent e.g. in fruits, is beneficial to brain health has reached the public. However their mechanistic actions in brain functions remain to be seen, particularly since the nature of those acting in the brain remains overlooked. I wish to address this gap by identifying candidate compounds that can support development of effective strategies to delay neurodegeneration.

Specifically, I will be analysing the potential of dietary phenolics in both prevention and treatment (i.e delay) of neuroinflammation – key process shared in neurodegenerative diseases. To break down the current indeterminate status of “cause vs effect”, my vision is to focus my research on metabolites derived from dietary phenolics that reach the brain. I will be investigating their effects in both established and unknown response pathways of microglia cells - the innate immune cells of the central nervous system, either alone or when communicating with other brain cells. Ultimately, to attain an integrated view of their effects I will establish nutrition trials in mice. LIMBo considers both pro- and anti- inflammatory processes to preliminary validate the action of any promising metabolite in prevention and/or therapeutics.

LIMBo provides valuable scientific insights for future implementation of healthy brain diets. My group is in a unique position to address LIMBo objectives due to multidisciplinary expertise in organic synthesis, metabolomics and molecular and cellular biology, together with our previous data on novel neuroactive metabolites.

LIMBo also creates far-reaching opportunities by generating knowledge that impacts our fundamental understanding on the diversity of phenolic metabolites and their specific influences in neuroinflammation and potential use as prodrugs.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 199 697,00
Campus de campolide
1099 085 Lisboa

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Continente Área Metropolitana de Lisboa Área Metropolitana de Lisboa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)