Microglia and regulation of inflammationmediated neurodegeneration: Prevention and treatment by phytochemicals and metabolic nutrients

Rajagopal Shanmuga Sundaram, Lakshminarayanan Gowtham


Inflammation, a common denominator among the diverse list of neurodegenerative diseases, has recently been implicated as a
critical mechanism responsible for the progressive nature of neurodegeneration. Microglias are the resident innate immune cells in the central nervous system and produce a barrage of factors (ILs, TNF α, NO, PGs, SOD) that are toxic to neurons. Evidence supports that the unregulated activation of microglia, in response to environmental toxins, endogenous proteins and neuronal death, results in the production of toxic factors that propagate neuronal injury. Herbal medicine has long been used to treat neural symptoms. Although the precise mechanisms of action of herbal drugs have yet to be determined, some of them have been shown to exert anti‑inflammatory and / or antioxidant effects in a variety of peripheral systems. Now, as increasing evidence indicates that neuroglia‑derived chronic inflammatory responses play a pathological role in the central nervous system, anti‑inflammatory herbal medicine and its constituents are being proved to be potent neuroprotectors against various brain pathologies. Structural diversity of medicinal herbs makes them a valuable source of novel lead compounds against therapeutic targets that are newly discovered by genomics, proteomics and high‑throughput screening. In the following review, we discuss the common thread of microglial activation across numerous neurodegenerative diseases, define current perceptions of how microglia are damaging neurons and explain how the
microglial response to neuronal damage results in a self‑propelling cycle of neuron death. This article synthesizes what we know about these destructive processes, while offering an insight into a new avenue of treatment involving phytochemicals and other nutrients.
Key words: Astrocyte, flavonoids, free radical scavengers, microglia, neuroinflammation, phytochemicals

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22377/ijgp.v6i2.243


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