Efficacy of Natural Compounds in Neurodegenerative Disorders.
Adv Neurobiol. 2016;12:107-123. PMID: 27651251
Neurodegenerative disorders represent clusters of serious diseases that results in progressive deterioration of normal structure and physiology of central nervous system. Pathophysiology of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or other neurodegenerative disorders involves multifaceted permutation of genetic and environmental factors. Combinations of lifestyle modification linked with environmental factor jointly or alone represent the largest share of cases of these disorders. Etiology of such neuronal degeneration involves manifestation of toxic reaction in the form of functional anomalies leading to dysfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, activated inflammatory cascade, compromised neuronal survival pathway, mitochondrial dysfunction and finally neuronal apoptosis/necrosis and cell death. Furthermore, evidences from various studies exhibited role of oxidative stress and compromised anti-oxidant defense system as one of the prime factors associated with activation of various signal transduction pathways that would ultimately lead to the formation of amyloid beta or alpha synuclein in the brain. Keeping in view of complex etiology and pathophysiology along with a miniscule of available treatment options associated with these neurodegenerative disorders, the role of natural agents and herbal extracts as therapeutic alternatives alone or in combination with synthetic drugs could not be ruled out. In the same context the present chapter has been aimed to investigate the role of selected natural plants like Withania somnifera, Bacopa monnieri, Curcuma longa, Centella asiatica, Ocimum sanctum, Nardostachys jatamansi and Emblica officinalis in various neurodegenerative disorders and explore their targets to ameliorate neurotoxicity in various experimental models. The rationale for selection of these plants was based on their strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential and large body of evidence that suggest their efficacy in preclinical as well as in clinical studies. Active constituents if these herbals might play an important role in preserving the integrity of various neurotransmitters and their receptor in the brain influencing its functions at the molecular level.