Plant polyphenols as natural drugs for the management of Down syndrome and related disorders

Rosa Anna Vacca*, Daniela Valenti, Salvatore Caccamese, Maria Daglia, Nady Braidy, Seyed Mohammad Nabavi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Polyphenols are secondary metabolites of plants largely found in fruits, vegetables, cereals and beverages, and therefore represent important constituents of the human diet. Increasing studies have demonstrated the potential beneficial effects of polyphenols on human health. Extensive reviews have discussed the protective effects of polyphenols against a series of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. Limited studies have investigated the potential therapeutic effects of these natural compounds on neurodevelopmental disorders associated with intellectual disability, such as Down syndrome (DS), for which mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative stress are hallmarks and contribute to the deleterious symptoms and cognitive decline. This review, starting from the structure, source, bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of relevant polyphenols, highlights recent studies on the effect and potential molecular mechanism(s) of action of the phenolic compounds epigallocatechin-3-gallate, resveratrol and hydroxytyrosol in restoring mitochondrial energy deficit and in reversing phenotypical alteration in DS. The clinical implications of plant polyphenol dietary supplements as therapeutic tools in managing DS and other intellectual disability-related diseases, is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-877
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Down syndrome
  • EGCG
  • Hydroxytyrosol
  • Intellectual disability
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurodevelopment diseases
  • Neuroprotection
  • Oxidative stress
  • Polyphenols
  • Resveratrol


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