Natural products and neurodegenerescence

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Misfolded proteins are the main common feature of neurodegenerative diseases, thereby, normal proteostasis is an important mechanism to regulate the neural survival and the central nervous system functionality. The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a non-lysosomal proteolytic pathway involved in numerous normal functions of the nervous system, modulation of neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, and recycling of membrane receptors or degradation of damaged and regulatory intracellular proteins.

Phytochemicals, specifically polyphenols (PPs), were reported to act as proteasome-inhibitors or may modulate the proteasome activity. PPs modify the UPS by means of accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, suppression of neuronal apoptosis, reduction of neurotoxicity, and improvement of synaptic plasticity and transmission.

The authors review the recent findings describing various aspects of UPS dysregulation in neurodegenerative disorders.

They highlight the evidence suggesting that polyphenolic compounds have a dose and disorder dependent effects in improving neurological dysfunctions, and so their mechanism of action could stimulate the UPS, induce the protein degradation or inhibit UPS and reduce protein degradation.

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