Royal Jelly and neural regeneration

Stimulatory effects of royal jelly on the generation
of neuronal and glial cells from cultured neural stem cells
Expectation of protection against certain neurological disorders

Shoei Furukawa, Ph.D.

The aging of population all over the world has given this topic a particular relevance. Japanese statistics about Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and depression illustrate this point eloquently.

This article describes results demonstrating that royal jelly and its components promote the generation of neuronal and glial cells from cultured neural stem cells, suggesting their potential as a health food that prevents these neurological disorders.

The central nervous system including brain and spinal cord is composed of 3 kinds of cells, i.e. neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Neural stem cells have a self-renewal capacity and multipotent activity to differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes during brain development. Besides being present in the developing embryonic brain, neural stem cells also reside in the adult forebrain where they constitutively give rise to proliferating progenitor cells, and differentiate into neurons, suggesting that the injured brain has the capacity for self-repair. Therefore, these cells in the mature brain are a promising target for therapy of degenerative neurological disorders

This work demonstrated in vitro a novel and outstanding property of royal jelly, namely that it facilitates the differentiation into neurons, astrocytes or oligodendrocytes from cultured neural stem cells. Further work showed he capacity of 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (HDEA), a unique fatty acid of royal jelly, to generate both neuronal and glial cells and may stimulate neurogenesis in the mature brain.

Royal Jelly for brain health is the last part of this paper.
Neural stem cells exist in the mature brain of mammals including humans. Their neurogenesis, becomes les robust with age and this reduction may be associated with depression. Stress induces glucocorticoid production from the adrenal gland via stimulation by ACTH from the pituitary gland, and long term-exposure to glucocorticoid attenuates neurogenesis. The improvement of symptoms of depression is well correlated with the recovery of neurogenesis.

These present results may be a clue to understand a variety of biological activities of Royal Jelly toward Central Nervous System at the molecular level, and may provide a novel strategy for nutritional and/or clinical applications. It is urgent to examine the neurogenic activity of HDEA and royal jelly in vivo; if effective, they may serve as a tool for protection against and therapy for some particular neurological disorders.

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