Buckwheat extract found to promote protein clean-up in cells

October 6, 2021
Buckwheat extract found to promote protein clean-up in cells

A type of buckwheat liquor used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) was found to influence an important activity in cells: tartary buckwheat extract induces autophagy, a process that cells use to clean up proteins that are damaged or no longer needed. Researchers from Japan’s Osaka University, who made the discovery, also said that a specific component contained within the extract, quercetin, induces a second process that removes harmful protein aggregates. Protein aggregates are linked to chronic diseases including Alzheimer’s.

The researchers had treated epithelial (skin) cells and liver cells with tartary buckwheat extract in several experiments, and focused on how different fluorescent markers of autophagy responded to the extract.

“The results clearly showed that tartary buckwheat induces autophagy in epithelial cells,” said Professor Takeshi Noda, Osaka University. “We found that treating cells with the extract stimulated the formation of autophagasomes, specialised cellular structures that carry out autophagy, and altered the location of proteins involved in regulating autophagy.”

A specific component of tartary buckwheat extract, known as quercetin, was later found to have the same effects as the extract. What’s more, both tartary buckwheat extract and quercetin prompted liver cells to round up and remove protein aggregates through a process known as aggrephagy.

The findings suggest that tartary buckwheat extract and quercetin could be a useful treatment for patients with diseases associated with autophagy and aggrephagy.

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Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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