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Molecules 2018, 23(2), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23020259

Targeting Cellular Stress Mechanisms and Metabolic Homeostasis by Chinese Herbal Drugs for Neuroprotection

1
Bio-innovation Center, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, Hualien 970, Taiwan
2
Department of Medical Research, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien 970, Taiwan
3
Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Science, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan
4
Agricultural Biotechnology Center, Department of Life Sciences, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan
5
Department of Life Sciences, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan
6
Department of Neurosurgery, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien 970, Taiwan
7
Department of Pathology, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital and Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotective Agents)
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Abstract

Traditional Chinese medicine has been practiced for centuries in East Asia. Herbs are used to maintain health and cure disease. Certain Chinese herbs are known to protect and improve the brain, memory, and nervous system. To apply ancient knowledge to modern science, some major natural therapeutic compounds in herbs were extracted and evaluated in recent decades. Emerging studies have shown that herbal compounds have neuroprotective effects or can ameliorate neurodegenerative diseases. To understand the mechanisms of herbal compounds that protect against neurodegenerative diseases, we summarize studies that discovered neuroprotection by herbal compounds and compound-related mechanisms in neurodegenerative disease models. Those compounds discussed herein show neuroprotection through different mechanisms, such as cytokine regulation, autophagy, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, glucose metabolism, and synaptic function. The interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α signaling pathways are inhibited by some compounds, thus attenuating the inflammatory response and protecting neurons from cell death. As to autophagy regulation, herbal compounds show opposite regulatory effects in different neurodegenerative models. Herbal compounds that inhibit ER stress prevent neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, there are compounds that protect against neuronal death by affecting glucose metabolism and synaptic function. Since the progression of neurodegenerative diseases is complicated, and compound-related mechanisms for neuroprotection differ, therapeutic strategies may need to involve multiple compounds and consider the type and stage of neurodegenerative diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: traditional Chinese medicine; herbal compounds; neuroprotection agent; neurodegenerative disease; cytokine regulation; autophagy; ER stress; glucose metabolism; synaptic function traditional Chinese medicine; herbal compounds; neuroprotection agent; neurodegenerative disease; cytokine regulation; autophagy; ER stress; glucose metabolism; synaptic function
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Ting, H.-C.; Chang, C.-Y.; Lu, K.-Y.; Chuang, H.-M.; Tsai, S.-F.; Huang, M.-H.; Liu, C.-A.; Lin, S.-Z.; Harn, H.-J. Targeting Cellular Stress Mechanisms and Metabolic Homeostasis by Chinese Herbal Drugs for Neuroprotection. Molecules 2018, 23, 259.

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