Author(s): Aruoma OI, Bahorun T, Jen LS
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Abstract Neurodegenerative diseases of the human brain comprise a variety of disorders that affect an increasing percentage of the population. Some of these are age dependent (e.g. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases) and some are infection dependent, e.g. human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS). The vulnerable brain regions in HIV/AIDS individuals include the dentate nucleus in the cerebellum, the red nucleus, substantia nigra (SN) in the mid-brain, the subthalamic nucleus, thalamic fasciculus in the diencephalons, the globus pallidus and striatum (or neostriatum, which consists of caudate and putamen) in the forebrain. Lesion in these regions may lead to progressive dementia, which is similar to what is observed in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The entry of calcium into the cytoplasm of cells at concentrations that can activate oxidative enzymes such as phospholipase A(2) and xanthine oxidase, deplete cells of cysteine and glutathione, cause mitochondrial release of free radicals and cell death. Glutamate and its receptors are key molecular elements at the interface between neurons and glia. Dietary factors can modulate physiological functions (including brain function) thereby increasing the economic productivity of a population as a function of health. A greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection, oxidative stress and immune function will facilitate definition of the prophylactic potentials of diet, nutritional/food supplements, medicinal plants and herbal extracts.
This article was published in Mutat Res
and referenced in Neurochemistry & Neuropharmacology