Our previous study has shown beneficial effects of walnuts on memory and learning skills in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD-tg). To understand underlying mechanism, we studied here whether walnuts can reduce oxidative stress in AD. From 4 months of age, experimental AD-tg mice were fed diets containing 6% (T6) or 9% walnuts (T9) (equivalent to 1 or 1.5 oz, of walnuts per day in humans) for 5, 10, or 15 months. The control groups, i.e., AD-tg (T0) and wild-type (Wt) mice, were fed diets without walnuts. Free radicals, i.e., reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and antioxidant enzymes were assessed in these mice at different ages. AD-tg mice on control diet (T0) showed significant age-dependent increase in ROS levels, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation coupled with impaired activities of antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase] compared to Wt mice. Oxidative stress was significantly reduced in AD-tg mice on diets with walnuts (T6, T9), as evidenced by decreased levels of ROS, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation, as well as by enhanced activities of antioxidant enzymes compared to T0 mice. Long-term supplementation with walnuts for 10 or 15 months was more effective in reducing oxidative stress in AD-tg mice. Our findings indicate that walnuts can reduce oxidative stress, not only by scavenging free radicals, but also by protecting antioxidant status, thus leading to reduced oxidative damage to lipids and proteins in AD. Therefore, by reducing oxidative stress, a walnut-enriched diet may help reduce the risk or delay the onset and progression of AD.

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