Natural plant products and extracts that reduce immunoexcitotoxicity-associated neurodegeneration and promote repair within the central nervous system.
Surg Neurol Int. 2012 ;3:19. Epub 2012 Feb 15. PMID: 22439110
Theoretical Neurosciences, Department of Biology, Belhaven University, Jackson, MS 39157, USA.
Our understanding of the pathophysiological and biochemical basis of a number of neurological disorders has increased enormously over the last three decades. Parallel with this growth of knowledge has been a clearer understanding of the mechanism by which a number of naturally occurring plant extracts, as well as whole plants, can affect these mechanisms so as to offer protection against injury and promote healing of neurological tissues. Curcumin, quercetin, green tea catechins, balcalein, and luteolin have been extensively studied, and they demonstrate important effects on cell signaling that go far beyond their antioxidant effects. Of particular interest is the effect of these compounds on immunoexcitotoxicity, which, the authors suggest, is a common mechanism in a number of neurological disorders. By suppressing or affecting microglial activation states as well as the excitotoxic cascade and inflammatory mediators, these compounds dramatically affect the pathophysiology of central nervous system disorders and promote the release and generation of neurotrophic factors essential for central nervous system healing. We discuss the various aspects of these processes and suggest future directions for study.