Jordan Stillman, Alicia Martin, Maria-Jose Miguez, H. Reginald McDaniel, Janet Konefal, Judi M. Woolger, John E. Lewis

Stillman et al. J Clin Transl Res 2019; 5(2): 5

Published online: January 29, 2020


Background and Aim: The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationships among pro brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and mature BDNF and immune functioning during aloe polymannose multinutrient complex (APMC) treatment in persons with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). 

Methods: An open label trial of twelve months was used to execute the study. Thirty-four adults with AD were enrolled and consumed 4 teaspoons/day of APMC for 12 months. Subjects were assessed at baseline and twelve months follow-up for proBDNF and BDNF and cytokines, growth factors, T-cell and B-cell subsets, and complete blood count to measure immune functioning. All biomarkers were inter-correlated. 

Results: Several relationships were identified between proBDNF, BDNF, and BDNF/proBDNF ratio and immune function at 12 months, particularly BDNF with VEGF (= 0.55, = 0.03), EGF (= 0.74, = 0.001), and CD95+CD3+ (%) (= –0.64, = 0.03) and proBDNF with VEGF (= 0.64, = 0.02), EGF (= 0.86, < 0.001), and CD16+56+ (%) (= –0.78, < 0.01). Other correlations were noted for various immune function variables with BDNF, proBDNF, and/or BDNF/proBDNF ratio at baseline and 12 months. Dichotomizing subjects on BDNF above and below 5000 pg/mL revealed additional relationships with platelets and neutrophils. 

Conclusions: The associations between BDNF and proBDNF and various immune markers, such as VEGF, EGF, and CD95+CD3+ ratio, provide insight into the link between neurological function and the immune system. These relationships were even stronger in response to APMC treatment, which lends support to previous findings showing improved immune function after dietary supplementation. 

Relevance for patients: Alzheimer's dementia patients have conventional treatment options with limited efficacy for counteracting the deleterious effects of the disease on neurological function. The link between neurological and immune function has been understudied in this population. Overall, our results showed significant beneficial relationships between immune and neurological function, particularly in response to 12 months of treatment with an all-natural polysaccharide-based dietary supplement that is a known immunomodulator. Thus, the use of this dietary supplement may benefit these patients by simultaneously improving immune and neurological function.


Author affiliation

1 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, United States 
2 School of Integrated Sciences and Humanity at Florida International University, Miami, FL, United States
3 Fisher Institute for Medical Research, Grand Prairie, TX, United States 
4 Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, United States 
5 Department of Medicine at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, United States

*Corresponding author
John E. Lewis
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences University of Miami Miller School of Medicine 1120 NW 14th Street Suite #1482A (D28) Miami, FL 33136, United States 
Tel: +1 305-243-6227

Handling editor:
Michal Heger
Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Department of Pharmaceutics, Jiaxing University Medical College, Zhejiang, China


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