HCR.20.041 – Sargassum Seaweeds: potential for fighting dementia

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 082 How does the central nervous system develop and how can we counteract degeneration processes in that system?

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is characterized by a progressive cognitive and consequently functional decline, leading to disability. Currently, there is no effective disease-modifying treatment. Dementia afflicts 280.000 people in the Netherlands and is expected to double in the next 25 years. We have demonstrated that Sargassum seaweeds are promising candidates for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In an Alzheimer mouse model, Sargassum fusiforme reduced plaques in the brain, typical for Alzheimer’s, by 80%. Moreover, it prevented memory decline in these mice. We identified 24(S)-Saringosterol as a compound activating brain cholesterol homeostasis and reducing inflammation, but other, yet unknown, components also play a role in these effects. We aim to identify the bioactive components of Sargassum fusiforme and establish its mechanisms of action in preventing/reducing neuropathology and memory decline in Alzheimer mice. Subsequently, we will identify related Sargassum species in local European and Dutch waters as candidates for preventing or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Use of local seaweeds will stimulate the EU biobased industry because its byproducts can be converted into green energy. This project will provide a scientific basis for applying seaweed-derived products as nutraceuticals (e.g. yoghurts, fortified drinks or bread) or food supplements as a promising, affordable and sustainable solution in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It can open up opportunities for development of drugs to fight dementia. Scientists, members of the food industry, cooks, dieticians, patients, care providers, and psychologists will join forces to develop a first neutraceutical and assess the effects on daily functioning of Alzheimer patients, as well as their willingness to use the product. Our project will result in a meaningful advance in the quality of life of Alzheimer’s patients and reduce the societal burden using natural marine-derived products.
Persons involved: Prof dr Linda Amaral-Zettler, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, TNO, Jaap van Hal/Lars Verschuren Dr Jeroen Kool/Dr Isabella Kohler, Prof dr Elga de Vries, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, Dr Tim Vanmierlo, Maastricht University, Stefan Kraan/Joost Wouters, The Seaweed Company BV, Prof dr Hongbing Liu, Ocean University of China, Haik van Exel, Hortimare, Dr Brigit van Tussenbroek, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Institute of Ocean Sciences and Limnology, Bjorn Folkers, ROC InHolland


Alzheimer's disease, bioactive compounds, drug discovery, nutraceuticals, seaweed

Other organisations

Amsterdam UMC, Hortimare, Institute of Ocean Sciences and Limnology, Maastricht University (UM), NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Ocean University of China, ROC InHolland, The Seaweed Company BV, TNO, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, VU Medisch Centrum Amsterdam (VUMC)


Organisation Erasmus MC University Medical Center (EMC)
Name Dr. M.T. (Monique) Mulder
E-mail m.t.mulder@erasmusmc.nl
Website www.erasmusmc.nl