Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) is a ligand activated transcription factor present in brain (and other) tissue. The PPAR can modulate neuroinflammation by regulation of the steroid hormone allopregnanolone, which can have a subsequent and significant anti-inflammatory effect. The anti-inflammatory effects of the PPAR-steroidal axis may play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health, and disruption of this neuromodulation may cause a deterioration in mood. Both PPAR-α and PPAR-γ are distributed in mammalian brain tissue and could be potential targets for mood elevating foods. In this regard it is thought that a number of functional foods may potentially target the PPAR-steroidal axis and this may confer protection from neuroinflammation. One potentially large group of phytochemicals that may interact with the PPAR-steroidal axid are the polyphenols. In this group, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids and hydroxybenzoic acids may all elevate mood in this manner.
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