Food for thought? Nestlé files patent on meroterpenoids to target brain disorders

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Daisy-Daisy
© Getty Images / Daisy-Daisy
Nestlé has patented meroterpenoid compounds, including the salt forms, that promote lactate secretion in the brain to prevent and treat an array of neurological disorders and age-related memory decline.

Writing in its global patent filing​, the food and nutrition major said the compounds could be used to develop “novel nutraceutical compositions” ​in dietary supplements, processed functional foods and beverages, herbal products, pharmaceuticals or simply isolated nutrients.

“The present invention relates to a compound, in particular a meroterpenoid compound, or salt thereof, for use in the prevention and/or treatment of a neurological disorder in an individual,”​ Nestlé wrote.

The composition, it said, could be used to treat and prevent a wide array of neurological disorders, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and a number of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and Tourette's.

Beyond this, Nestlé said its invention could also be used to prevent or treat diabetes-related disorders, particularly Type II diabetes; disorders related to lipid metabolism or vascular complications; the prevention and treatment of inflammatory and some autoimmune diseases; and even against some cancers, particularly tumors and digestive cancers.

Working to promoting lactate secretion

In its patent, which followed on from an earlier European filing, Nestlé said treatment and prevention of these disorders was possible by stimulating the release of lactate, either from central nervous system cells or peripheral tissue. Lactate is a metabolite known for its role in fueling brain neurons as well as its signaling function in the central nervous system and Nestlé said it was important when considering brain health.

“The inventors of the present application have identified meroterpenoids (particularly ascochlorin and related compounds) as bioactives that promote lactate secretion from astrocytes. These active compounds affect the astrocyte neuron lactate shuttle or stimulate lactate release from other tissues and may thereby be beneficial for brain energy homeostasis and neuronal health by counteracting the negative effects of impaired metabolism,”​ Nestlé wrote in the patent filing.

The importance of lactate on learning had been “convincingly demonstrated”​ when studying the astrocyte neuron lactate shuttle, it said, and it was also known for its ability to “prevent neuronal loss”​ and be “protective for neurons” ​during recovery.

The stimulation of lactate secretion was confirmed using several screening assays, including an orthogonal assay, and the toxicity was tested in human IPS cells showing a good potential range.

“Meroterpenoid tested compounds showed a range of concentration where they are active on lactate secretion by astrocytes and not toxic on cardiomycocytes,” ​Nestlé wrote.

When contacted for further details, the food and nutrition major told NutraIngredients-LATAM: “At the moment, we do not have more to comment.”

Source: WIPO International Patent No. 2019053159
Published: March 21, 2019. Filed: September 13, 2018.
Title: “Meroterpenoid compounds for use in the prevention and treatment of a neurological disorder”
Author: Nestec S.A – DM. Barron, Y. Ratinaud, J. Thevenet and AC. Wiederkehr

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