Plant-derived bioactive compounds as antineuroinflammatory agents

Many fruits, but especially mango, contain compounds with favorable biological activity for health, according to some studies.

Plant-derived bioactive compounds as antineuroinflammatory agents
Bioactive chemicals derived from plants have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Photo by Yoel Winkler / Unsplash

Neuroinflammation is an abnormal process associated with the deterioration of brain tissue or function. It occurs when the immune system in the central nervous system induces physiological changes in response to different damages; for example, neurodegenerative or autoimmune diseases, imbalance in nervous oxidative stress, diabetes, strokes, infections by microorganisms, cerebrovascular events (infarction or stroke) or even advanced age.

This condition is characterized by the activation of brain cells (astrocytes and microglia) and blood circulation cells (T and B lymphocytes) that perform immune functions. Once activated, the damaged area tends to accumulate cells and fluids that may result in neuronal death and loss of function. Treatment is based on drugs (according to the agent causing the condition) and, in addition, exercise and diet can be used to promote generalized beneficial effects.

Some research shows the presence of molecules with beneficial biological activity for health naturally present in certain foods, especially fruits such as mango, which contains high amounts of gallic acid, chlorogenic acid and manguiferin. These compounds are found in the fruit pulp and by-products, such as the peel and pit.

Once consumed, they exert localized antioxidant effects, as well as other actions such as inhibition of processes that stimulate immune system cells. In this way, the progression of neuronal damage and death is prevented, which leads to mitigate some negative health effects. Other molecules contained in tropical fruits have similar effects in addition to their antioxidant potential.

Given the beneficial relevance in health generated by bioactive compounds of vegetable origin, multiple researches are currently being developed in our country and around the world, focused on identifying new compounds with similar activity that are present in the diet, in order to study their biological effects as possible treatments to treat pathologies of national interest.

It is important to highlight the importance of consuming plant-based foods throughout our lives to maintain good health, including that of the central nervous system. In the research group of the Laboratory of Antioxidants and Functional Foods of CIAD, together with Marcelino Montiel Herrera, researcher at the University of Sonora, we studied the possible effect of phenols in processes related to synapses associated with pathologies such as Alzheimer's disease. These in vitro studies involve brain cells that participate in the communication required to maintain a good memory.

By Francisco Jonathan Pérez Delgado, PhD student at CIAD; Marcelino Montiel Herrera, researcher at the University of Sonora; J. Abraham Domínguez Ávila and Gustavo A. González Aguilar, researchers at the Laboratory of Antioxidants and Functional Foods at CIAD.