Research Topic

Natural Products as Drivers in Drug Development for Neurodegenerative Disorders

About this Research Topic

Over the last decades, the terrestrial and marine environment has revealed to be a prolific source of unparalleled structurally active metabolites, with a broad spectrum of biological activities, including antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, antifouling, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. To date, quite a wide range of natural products (NPs) classes have been isolated from terrestrial and marine organisms, including alcohols, alkaloids, amino acid derivatives, aromatic compounds, fatty acids, lactones, peptides, polyacetylenes, polyketides, quinones, quinolones, sphingolipids, sterols, terpenes, and terpenoids, among others. Since those metabolites are produced as a response to physical and ecological pressures to ensure organisms survival and have presumably evolved over billions of years in close association with biological systems, they present high specificity and great affinity to interact with biological target structures (e.g. receptors, DNA, membranes, proteins, among others), making them excellent candidates to inspire the development of new medicines, with minimal collateral effects and significant health benefits.

The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) is a large and increasing health burden worldwide and is one of the emerging reasons for morbidity, mortality, and cognitive impairment in aging. Moreover, NDs impact is expected to significantly increase in the next decades due to the progressive aging of the world population. The neurodegenerative process leads to malfunctions and cellular death, which seems to be triggered by a set of complex biological mechanisms, such as protein aberrant aggregation, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, defective protein quality control, and degradation pathways, stress granules, and maladaptive immune response. Despite the advances achieved in the last decades, the effectiveness of current drugs to control, delay, or block the NDs progression is still limited. Thus, the discovery and development of new therapeutic agents that can improve the currently therapeutic regimes are of utmost importance. Accordingly, a large focus has been placed on the potential of NPs as new natural neuroprotective agents, essentially due to their scaffold diversity, structural complexity, and ability to activate several intracellular signaling pathways through distinct mechanisms of action while presenting fewer side-effects.

This Research Topic is focused on the potential of natural products (NPs) as scaffolds to inspire the development of new drugs for neurodegenerative disorders treatments, empathizing the diversity of molecular targets and mechanistic effects. Demonstration of the NPs biological activities on in vitro cellular models, including innovative scientific approaches (e.g. co-cultures and 3D cultures), are encouraged to demonstrate the effectiveness of the identified molecules, and also to contribute to overcoming the gaps between in vitro and in vivo studies. Pre-clinical and clinical studies that support the efficacy and application of NPs will be also considered. Furthermore, studies describing the synergistic combination of NPs with clinically-used or experimental neuroprotective agents are also within the scope.

We welcome scientists from the academic and industry sectors to contribute with Reviews and Original Research, among other research articles (more information here), highlighting the neuroprotective activities and the intracellular signaling pathways activated by known or novel NPs.


Note to the authors:

Upon submission, authors will need to select the Section of the Journal they wish to submit to, and the studies need to adhere to the scope of the section as well as quality guidelines, if applicable. Please see below.
- Ethnopharmacology – Studies submitted must comply with the “Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology” (you can freely download the full version here) and fit in the scope of the section (see here).
- Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery – Studies submitted must fit in the scope of the section (see here).
- Neuropharmacology – Studies submitted must fit in the scope of the section (see here).

All the submitted manuscripts will be peer-reviewed and, if accepted, articles will be published in the Journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.


Keywords: Natural products, Neuroinflammation, Oxidative stress, Apoptosis, Mechanisms of action, Neuropharmacology, Drug Discovery, Ethnopharmacology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Over the last decades, the terrestrial and marine environment has revealed to be a prolific source of unparalleled structurally active metabolites, with a broad spectrum of biological activities, including antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, antifouling, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. To date, quite a wide range of natural products (NPs) classes have been isolated from terrestrial and marine organisms, including alcohols, alkaloids, amino acid derivatives, aromatic compounds, fatty acids, lactones, peptides, polyacetylenes, polyketides, quinones, quinolones, sphingolipids, sterols, terpenes, and terpenoids, among others. Since those metabolites are produced as a response to physical and ecological pressures to ensure organisms survival and have presumably evolved over billions of years in close association with biological systems, they present high specificity and great affinity to interact with biological target structures (e.g. receptors, DNA, membranes, proteins, among others), making them excellent candidates to inspire the development of new medicines, with minimal collateral effects and significant health benefits.

The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) is a large and increasing health burden worldwide and is one of the emerging reasons for morbidity, mortality, and cognitive impairment in aging. Moreover, NDs impact is expected to significantly increase in the next decades due to the progressive aging of the world population. The neurodegenerative process leads to malfunctions and cellular death, which seems to be triggered by a set of complex biological mechanisms, such as protein aberrant aggregation, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, defective protein quality control, and degradation pathways, stress granules, and maladaptive immune response. Despite the advances achieved in the last decades, the effectiveness of current drugs to control, delay, or block the NDs progression is still limited. Thus, the discovery and development of new therapeutic agents that can improve the currently therapeutic regimes are of utmost importance. Accordingly, a large focus has been placed on the potential of NPs as new natural neuroprotective agents, essentially due to their scaffold diversity, structural complexity, and ability to activate several intracellular signaling pathways through distinct mechanisms of action while presenting fewer side-effects.

This Research Topic is focused on the potential of natural products (NPs) as scaffolds to inspire the development of new drugs for neurodegenerative disorders treatments, empathizing the diversity of molecular targets and mechanistic effects. Demonstration of the NPs biological activities on in vitro cellular models, including innovative scientific approaches (e.g. co-cultures and 3D cultures), are encouraged to demonstrate the effectiveness of the identified molecules, and also to contribute to overcoming the gaps between in vitro and in vivo studies. Pre-clinical and clinical studies that support the efficacy and application of NPs will be also considered. Furthermore, studies describing the synergistic combination of NPs with clinically-used or experimental neuroprotective agents are also within the scope.

We welcome scientists from the academic and industry sectors to contribute with Reviews and Original Research, among other research articles (more information here), highlighting the neuroprotective activities and the intracellular signaling pathways activated by known or novel NPs.


Note to the authors:

Upon submission, authors will need to select the Section of the Journal they wish to submit to, and the studies need to adhere to the scope of the section as well as quality guidelines, if applicable. Please see below.
- Ethnopharmacology – Studies submitted must comply with the “Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology” (you can freely download the full version here) and fit in the scope of the section (see here).
- Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery – Studies submitted must fit in the scope of the section (see here).
- Neuropharmacology – Studies submitted must fit in the scope of the section (see here).

All the submitted manuscripts will be peer-reviewed and, if accepted, articles will be published in the Journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.


Keywords: Natural products, Neuroinflammation, Oxidative stress, Apoptosis, Mechanisms of action, Neuropharmacology, Drug Discovery, Ethnopharmacology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 September 2021 Abstract
01 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

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 September 2021 Abstract
01 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

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

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