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Therapeutic Effects of Betacyanin-enriched Extract from Red-Fleshed Dragon Fruit in the G93A Mutant hSOD1 Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an insidious and fatal neurodegenerative disease that results in the progressive loss of motor neuron function and death, attributed to underlying mechanisms of oxidative and nitrosative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neuroinflammation. Research has shown that certain nutraceuticals have beneficial therapeutic effects in attenuating the underlying pathology of many neurodegenerative diseases. Betacyanins found in red-fleshed dragon fruit, for example, has been shown to have significant antioxidant, anti-nitrosative, and anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial in treating diseases like ALS. This study assesses the therapeutic effects of betacyanins in a red-fleshed dragon fruit extract (DFE) in the hSOD1 mouse model of ALS. Daily oral treatment with DFE significantly extended survival, notably preserved body weight, and moderately preserved muscle strength and endurance as assessed by grip strength testing and rotarod performance. These findings indicate that DFE potentially slows disease progression in the familial ALS mouse model.

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