About this Research Topic
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS) and others represent a major threat to human health. These age-dependent disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent, in part because the elderly population has increased in recent years, and are diverse in their pathophysiology, with some causing memory and cognitive impairments and others affecting a person’s ability to move, speak and breathe. Effective treatments are desperately needed. Nowadays, with respect to the complex and multi-factorial pathology of neurodegenerative diseases, the restorative strategies combine multi-components to maximize structural and functional recovery. Recently, one of the promising approaches for the renewal of lost brain tissue is cell therapy. A significant body of evidence has demonstrated the constructive effect of stem cells transplantation via cell replacement while providing supportive factors. Stem cells are unspecialized cells of the human body. They are able to differentiate into any cell of an organism and have the ability of self-renewal. Stem cells exist both in embryos and adult cells. Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) appear to provide an accurate model to study tissue-specific stem cells, and they have potential in regenerative medicine such as neurodegenerative diseases. Multipotent HSCs transplantation is currently the most popular stem cell therapy. Target cells are usually derived from the bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. For many years, the brain, with its extraordinary structure, connectivity, complexity, and diversity of cell types, was considered an exception and neural stem cells (NSCs) were thought to be present only during development. This idea changed with the discovery of adult neurogenesis that can function as NSCs generating neurons, glial cells or both. In the adult mammalian brain, NSCs are retained in two regions, the subventricular zone (SVZ) and the subgranular zone (SGZ). In animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, including PD, HD, ALS and AD, transplantation of NSCs led to clinical improvement and also life extension. Nevertheless, controlling cell survival and determining the fate of transplanted stem cells are the current challenges in cell therapy. In order to guide the fate of transplanted cells and increase its effectiveness, supportive agents can be used in this therapeutic context. For instance, curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a lipophilic molecule with potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. A large body of evidence supports the anti-oxidant actions of curcumin regarding various neurologic and psychiatric diseases. Saffron (Crocus satious L.) is another supportive agent, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Saffron and its constituents (especially crocin) improve the cognitive function in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
Hence, we aim to address the efficacy of natural products in combination with transplantation of stem cells in neurodegenerative diseases.
In this Research Topic, we welcome original research articles, as well as review articles regarding the neuroprotective and neurogenesis effects of stem cells and natural products in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: Neurodegenerative diseases, Stem cell transplantation, Cell culture, In Vivo transplantation, Bioactive substance, Phyomedicine, Neuroinflammation, Neural Differentiation
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