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Research Article

Methodologies and limitations in the analysis of potential neuroprotective compounds derived from natural products

Author:

John T. Weber

School of Pharmacy and Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 300 Prince Philip Drive, St. John׳s, Nfld, Canada A1B 3V6
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Abstract

Abstract

Plant-derived polyphenols have attracted the attention of scientists, the public, and the media due to their potential use as nutraceutical products. The high quantities of polyphenols found in some berry species, e.g. Vaccinium species such as blueberries and lingonberries, and their reported antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, could be beneficial for brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders. The neuroprotective potential of various polyphenolic compounds have been validated using a variety of in vivo and in vitrotechniques. Both in vivo and in vitro methodologies have their respective advantages and disadvantages, including, but not limited to, cost, time, use of resources and technical limitations. For example, in vivo studies can better evaluate the effects of protective compounds and/or their metabolites on various tissues, including the brain, whereas in vitrostudies can better discern the cellular and/or mechanistic effects of compounds. This short review is meant to provide a synopsis of some of the inherent benefits and drawbacks of methods used for assessing neuroprotection and how findings may translate to the human population, particularly related to my specific area of research analyzing the potential neuroprotective effects of berries and their associated polyphenolic compounds.

Focal points

 

•Benchside

Both in vivo and in vitro experimental approaches are necessary to determine the full potential that berries and their constituents hold for treating and preventing neurological diseases and syndromes.

•Bedside

Ingestion of compounds from berries may reduce the amount and severity of neurodegenerative diseases, thereby providing a form of translational preventative medicine.

•Industry

Neuroprotective compounds from berries, including both the fruits and leaves, hold potential as nutraceutical products.

•Community

The development of nutraceutical products with neuroprotective potential by industry could provide local economic benefits.

•Regulatory agencies

As nutraceutical products are produced from the fruits and leaves of berries, care will need to be taken on labeling as well as claims made by the manufacturers.

How to Cite: Weber, J.T., (2015). Methodologies and limitations in the analysis of potential neuroprotective compounds derived from natural products. New Horizons in Translational Medicine. 2(3), pp.81–85. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.nhtm.2015.01.001
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Published on 16 Jan 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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