Identification of dietary modulators of cognitive ageing and brain plasticity and proof of concept of efficacy for preventing/reversing cognitive decline

Understanding how diet modifies cognitive ageing represents the next frontiers for developing prevention strategies. A key may rely on elucidating the exact combination of dietary bioactives capable of modulating cognitive decline via brain plasticity, a major compensatory mechanism to maintain cognitive function. Another important question is the sensitive population in which such nutritional intervention should be undertaken. We hypothesize that (i) there exists a combination of dietary bioactives capable of modulating cognition and brain plasticity, (ii) dietary modulation of brain plasticity and cognition starts in early-life and occurs throughout life and (iii) exposure to stress/genetic predisposition are vulnerability factors to consider. We propose a translational project across nutrition, epidemiology, and neurosciences leveraging human data/serum samples  and mouse models and using innovative approaches of: (i) dietary exposure assessment (the food metabolome), (ii) human brain plasticity (in vitro parabiosis to assess neurogenesis and microglial function, lipidomics to assess neuronal integrity), and (iii) cognitive ageing modeling (early-life stress mouse model).

D-CogPlast will start with a discovery stage in humans, aimed at identifying a set of dietary
bioactives from the food metabolome associated with cognitive decline, along with vulnerable populations, in 200 individuals with accelerated cognitive decline over 13+ years against 200 individuals with preserved cognition. This will be further validated in 400 participants from a separate cohort. The second stage will be to investigate the ability of the identified set of bioactives predictive of cognitive decline to modulate brain plasticity and neuronal integrity. The third stage will consist in a proof-of-principle dietary intervention with identified bioactives in a mouse model of cognitive decline.

On completion of this proposal we will have (i) identified and validated an optimum combination of dietary compounds providing protective effect against cognitive ageing and brain plasticity alteration, (ii) identified vulnerable populations responding to the impact of diet on cognitiv decline, (iii) provided evidence of brain plasticity as targets of choice for bioactives intervention to prevent/slowdown cognitive decline and (iv) provided a proof-of-principle life-long dietary intervention for preventing/rescuing cognitive decline. It is expected that the bioactives identified and validated will lead to dietary interventions and recommendations for cognitive decline prevention.


Partner Organization Partner Country
University of Amsterdam Netherlands
French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) France
University of Barcelona Spain
Paracelsus Medical University Austria




Project number:
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %
Related funding round:
Project lead and secretary:
Sandrine Thuret
Responsible organisation:
King's College London, UK