B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL) is an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein found in the mitochondrial membrane. Bcl-xL is reported to support normal brain development and protects neurons against toxic stimulation during pathological process via its roles in regulation of mitochondrial functions. Despite promising evidence showing neuroprotective properties of Bcl-xL, commonly applied molecular approaches such as genetic manipulation may not be readily applicable for human subjects. Therefore, findings at the bench may be slow to be translated into treatments for disease. Currently, there is no FDA approved application that specifically targets Bcl-xL and treats brain-associated pathology in humans. In this review, we will discuss naturally occurring nutrients that may exhibit regulatory effects on Bcl-xL expression or activity, thus potentially providing affordable, readily-applicable, easy, and safe strategies to protect the brain.
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