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Healthcare for central nervous system (CNS) injuries and diseases is poised to cost millions of dollars per annum in the next decade. These afflictions and ailments include traumatic brain injury/concussion, cancers (e.g. gliomas), and neurodegenerative diseases (ND) like Parkinson’s disease (PD) or ...

Healthcare for central nervous system (CNS) injuries and diseases is poised to cost millions of dollars per annum in the next decade. These afflictions and ailments include traumatic brain injury/concussion, cancers (e.g. gliomas), and neurodegenerative diseases (ND) like Parkinson’s disease (PD) or Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). As with human immune deficiency virus (HIV)-associated dementia and the 1980s AIDS epidemic, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has, again, highlighted the effect of viral infections on the CNS. Although advances in clinical care and increased public awareness have improved survival and quality of life, post-acute effects upon CNS health remain a significant concern. For example, mitigation of toxic protein aggregates caused by AD has been successful, but patients may still suffer cognitive decline. Furthermore, neurological symptoms manifest after SARS-CoV-2 infection, even among asymptomatic patients, and long-term effects are unknown. Lastly, concussion is associated with increased risk of ND diagnosis, however definitive causation and treatment remain elusive.

Research shows that mechanisms of enzyme and protease function within the context of brain disease or trauma may offer insight regarding targeted therapeutic design and application. For submissions to this Research Topic, the chemistry and biochemistry-based mechanisms described must highlight the role(s) of biological activity, protein-protein or protein-drug interactions, and chemical moieties or structures that negate/prevent key aspects of cellular degeneration. Studies that feature cell-specific targeting, development and use of machine learning or “omics”, and that address enzymatic function as a biological outcome or therapeutic target for patients are of particular interest. Injuries and diseases covered must be from at least one the following: post-hemorrhagic TBI, concussion, and sub-concussion; NDs e.g. sporadic AD, PD, as well as CTE; HIV-associated dementia and/or SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with clinical symptomology. When feasible, submissions of translational studies on animal models should aim to use non-genetic diseases and wild-type, not humanized or transgenic, animals.

This Research Topic is a call for work that presents the roles and utility of activation or inhibition of enzymes, including proteases, that play a role in neurological injury and disease progression or mitigation. Original Research, Brief Reports, Perspectives (even if conceptual), and concise Reviews will be considered. Research that includes women and minorities and/or female gendered animal models is especially welcome. Authors from globally disadvantaged backgrounds, international institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and those who identify as young investigators or "resumers", e.g. persons who were granted research or medical degrees later in life, are also strongly encouraged to submit.

Keywords: Enzyme, Protease, Brain Injury, Neurological Disease, Targeted Therapeutics


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