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Polyphenolic compounds in the Mediterranean diet have received increasing attention due to their protective properties in amyloid neurodegenerative and many other diseases. Here, we have demonstrated for the first time that polyphenol oleuropein aglycone (OleA), which is the most abundant compound in olive oil, has multiple potencies for the inhibition of amyloid self-assembly of pro-inflammatory protein S100A9 and the mitigation of the damaging effect of its amyloids on neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. OleA directly interacts with both native and fibrillar S100A9 as shown by intrinsic fluorescence and molecular dynamic simulation. OleA prevents S100A9 amyloid oligomerization as shown using amyloid oligomer-specific antibodies and cross-β-sheet formation detected by circular dichroism. It decreases the length of amyloid fibrils measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM) as well as reduces the effective rate of amyloid growth and the overall amyloid load as derived from the kinetic analysis of amyloid formation. OleA disintegrates already preformed fibrils of S100A9, converting them into nonfibrillar and nontoxic aggregates as revealed by amyloid thioflavin-T dye binding, AFM, and cytotoxicity assays. At the cellular level, OleA targets S100A9 amyloids already at the membranes as shown by immunofluorescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer, significantly reducing the amyloid accumulation in GM1 ganglioside containing membrane rafts. OleA increases overall cell viability when neuroblastoma cells are subjected to the amyloid load and alleviates amyloid-induced intracellular rise of reactive oxidative species and free Ca2+. Since S100A9 is both a pro-inflammatory and amyloidogenic protein, OleA may effectively mitigate the pathological consequences of the S100A9-dependent amyloid-neuroinflammatory cascade as well as provide protection from neurodegeneration, if used within the Mediterranean diet as a potential preventive measure.

Original publication




Journal article


ACS chemical neuroscience

Publication Date





1905 - 1918


Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences "Mario Serio", University of Florence, 50134 Florence, Italy.


Humans, Alzheimer Disease, Amyloid, Kinetics, Amyloid beta-Peptides, Amyloidogenic Proteins, Olive Oil