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Effects of DHA-phospholipids, melatonin and tryptophan supplementation on erythrocyte membrane physico-chemical properties in elderly patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment


Cazzola, Roberta, Rondanelli, Mariangela, Faliva, Milena, Cestaro, Benvenuto


Experimental Gerontology, Volume: 47, No.: 12, Pages.: 974-978

Year of Publication



A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was carried out to assess the efficacy of a docosahexenoic acid (DHA)-phospholipids, melatonin and tryptophan supplemented diet in improving the erythrocyte oxidative stress, membrane fluidity and membrane-bound enzyme activities of elderly subjects suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). These subjects were randomly assigned to the supplement group (11 subjects, 9F and 2M; age 85.3±5.3y) or placebo group (14-matched subjects, 11F and 3M; 86.1±6.5). The duration of the treatment was 12weeks. The placebo group showed no significant changes in erythrocyte membrane composition and function. The erythrocyte membranes of the supplement group showed a significant increase in eicosapentenoic acid, docosapentenoic acid and DHA concentrations and a significant decrease in arachidonic acid, malondialdehyde and lipofuscin levels. These changes in membrane composition resulted in an increase in the unsaturation index, membrane fluidity and acetylcholine esterase activity. Moreover, a significant increase in the ratio between reduced and oxidized glutathione was observed in the erythrocyte of the supplement group. Although this study is a preliminary investigation, we believe these findings to be of great speculative and interpretative interest to better understand the complex and multi-factorial mechanisms behind the possible links between diets, their functional components and possible molecular processes that contribute to increasing the risk of developing MCI and Alzheimer’s.; Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bibtex Citation

@article{Cazzola_2012, doi = {10.1016/j.exger.2012.09.004}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {dec}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {47}, number = {12}, pages = {974--978}, author = {Roberta Cazzola and Mariangela Rondanelli and Milena Faliva and Benvenuto Cestaro}, title = {Effects of {DHA}-phospholipids, melatonin and tryptophan supplementation on erythrocyte membrane physico-chemical properties in elderly patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment}, journal = {Experimental Gerontology} }


acid, activities, aged, aged, 80 and over, and, antioxidants, blood, blood specimen collection, chemistry physical, dhaphospholipids, diet, dietary supplements, docosahexaenoic acids, docosahexenoic, doubleblind method, drug effects, drug therapy, enzyme, erythrocyte, erythrocyte membrane, erythrocytes, fatty acids, female, fluidity, humans, male, melatonin, membrane fluidity, membranebound, metabolism, methods, mild cognitive impairment, neuropsychological tests, oxidative, oxidative stress, pharmacology, physiology, stress, supplemented, therapeutic use, tryptophan

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions