Coffee's aroma kick-starts genes in the brain

June 16, 2008
Coffee
Scientists report that the simple inhalation of coffee by rats has changed their gene expressions in ways that help reduce sleep deprivation-induced stress. Courtesy of public-domain-photos.com

Drink coffee to send a wake-up call to the brain? Or just smell its rich, warm aroma? An international group of scientists is reporting some of the first evidence that simply inhaling coffee aroma alters the activity of genes in the brain.

In experiments with laboratory rats, they found that coffee aroma orchestrates the expression of more than a dozen genes and some changes in protein expressions, in ways that help reduce the stress of sleep deprivation. Their study is scheduled for the June 25 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Han-Seok Seo and colleagues point out that hundreds of studies have been done on the ingredients in coffee, including substances linked to beneficial health effects. "There are few studies that deal with the beneficial effects of coffee aroma," they note. "This study is the first effort to elucidate the effects of coffee bean aroma on the sleep deprivation-induced stress in the rat brain."

In an effort to begin filling that gap, they allowed lab rats to inhale coffee aroma, including some rats stressed by sleep deprivation. The study then compared gene and protein expressions in the rats' brains. Rats that sniffed coffee showed different levels of activity in 17 genes.

Thirteen of the genes showed differential mRNA expression between the stress group and the stress with coffee group, including proteins with healthful antioxidant activity known to protect nerve cells from stress-related damage.

Article: dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf8001137

Source: ACS

Explore further: Coffee genome sheds light on the evolution of caffeine

Related Stories

Genes involved in coffee quality have been identified

February 6, 2007

To maintain their incomes, growers are increasingly banking on producing quality coffee. However, improving coffee beverage quality means knowing more about the biological processes - flowering, fruit ripening, etc - that ...

Recommended for you

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

August 31, 2015

Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world's seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of seabird species ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.