Besides being an important component of spices used worldwide, capsaicin has wide-ranging therapeutic potential as a hypolipidemic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Accordingly, it is very important to investigate the long-term effect of capsaicin in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.
In this study, the effects of capsaicin on the processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) were investigated in an in vivo model. The APP mRNA and protein levels were examined in the brain cortices of control and capsaicin-treated rats. The protein kinase C (PKC) translocation state in the soluble and membrane-bound fractions and the levels of β-secretase (BACE) were also evaluated. Capsaicin enhanced the level of membrane-bound APP 1.7-fold. The APP mRNA and PKC and BACE protein levels were unchanged after capsaicin treatment.
These in vivo data indicate that capsaicin is able to interfere with the brain APP metabolism by promoting the amyloidogenic route. We suggest that PKC is not involved in the mechanism underlying the effects.