Research Topic

Natural Products and Brain Energy Metabolism: Astrocytes in Neurodegenerative Diseases

About this Research Topic

Many lines of evidence suggest that energy metabolism disorders are hallmarks of brain aging and are particularly involved in many neurodegenerative disorders. Energy metabolism disorders, such as deficits in glucose availability and mitochondrial dysfunction, can induce energy deficits for normal brain ...

Many lines of evidence suggest that energy metabolism disorders are hallmarks of brain aging and are particularly involved in many neurodegenerative disorders. Energy metabolism disorders, such as deficits in glucose availability and mitochondrial dysfunction, can induce energy deficits for normal brain function, and also lead to the accumulation of metabolic intermediates in the brain microenvironment, which may be the initiator of neurodegenerative diseases. Astrocytes are known to be an energy support system for the brain and also a clearance system to keep the homeostasis of the brain microenvironment.

The newly found Glymphatic system, which consists of astrocytes, is a clearance system in the brain to extrude water and molecular waste, and support the neurons with glucose, lactose, glutamine etc. Astrocyte energy metabolism disorders cause neurons to lack energy and provide substrates, and cannot produce enough energy to transmit nerve signals. What's more, energy metabolism disorders will cause a cascade of issues including oxidative stress, neurosynaptic dysfunction, etc. At the same time, because the energy produced by the neuron is insufficient to sustain itself, the neuron eventually dies. This dysfunction can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, stress, and depression etc.

What's more, the abnormal energy metabolism and the development of neurodegenerative diseases are mutually causal, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson diseases, stress, and depression etc. Therefore, pharmacological intervention is needed to reduce energy metabolism disorders and potentially prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases. The degree of disease will increase with the degree of the energy metabolism disorder, and vice versa.

Natural plants are historically used as cultural medicine in various places around the world. Natural plants have traditionally been applied to treat health problems, including neurodegenerative diseases. Several natural products have been identified and proved to have neurodegenerative diseases activity, including flavonoids, polyphenols, alkaloids. The discovery of strong active compounds from plants has been validated for efficacy, and structural modification based on the groups is an effective method for new drug discovery. For example, Huperzine A from Huperzia serrata is proven to improve memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease, and huperzine A-derived Shiplin (ZT-1) is currently in Phase III clinical studies. This lesson could reveal a new opportunity for natural compounds as candidates for neurodegenerative diseases therapy.

In this Research Topic, we welcome high-quality studies about natural products with neurodegenerative diseases by regulating energy metabolism. We welcome research papers, reviews and prospective about the following subtopics, but not limited to:


• Novel (or repurposed) natural agents for neurodegenerative disease treatment.
• Novel (or repurposed) natural agents for age-related abnormal energy metabolism treatment.
• Novel (or repurposed) natural anti-aging agents with improved energy metabolism disorder properties.
• Molecular mechanism of medicinal plants and plant-derived natural products in the prevention and treatment of abnormal energy metabolism in the context of glymphatic system.
• Methodology of isolation/testing/screening strategy for the discovery of novel anti-brain aging medicinal plants.
• Clinical updates on adjuvant treatments with medicinal plants on astrocytes with neurodegenerative diseases.
• Future directions for research on the energy metabolism potential of established anti- neurodegenerative disease natural products in the field of anti-aging research.


Keywords: astrocytes, metabolism, glymphatic system, neurodegenerative disorders, energy metabolism


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Submission Deadlines

01 June 2021 Abstract
30 November 2021 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 June 2021 Abstract
30 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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