About this Research Topic
Adaptogens are natural compounds or plant extracts that increase adaptability and survival of organisms under stress. Recent studies with adaptogens suggest that they might be pharmacologically beneficial, not only for stress-induced mental and behavioral disorders (such as depression, anxiety, stress-induced and chronic fatigue, bipolar disorders, etc.), but also for aging-associated disorders (including neurodegeneration, atherosclerosis, diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, osteoarthritis, etc.).
This Research Topic will focus on the most recent research developments and ideas regarding the mechanism of action of adaptogens. Particular emphasis will be placed on their effects on mediators of extra- and intra-cellular communications involved in the regulation of homeostasis of the neuroendocrine-immune complex (stress system). Adaptogens stimulate cellular and organismal defense systems by activating intracellular and extracellular signaling pathways, as well as the expression of stress-activated proteins and neuropeptides. Additionally, adaptogens affect many genes playing key roles in the modulation of adaptive homeostasis, indicating their ability to modify gene expression to prevent stress-induced and aging-related disorders.
The effects of adaptogens on mediators of the adaptive stress response and longevity signaling pathways have been reported. Key molecular mechanisms of several adaptogenic plants traditionally used to treat stress- and aging-related disorders have recently been identified, with the genome-wide effects of several adaptogenic herbal extracts in cultured brain cells having been elucidated. A large number of the genes regulated by adaptogens were closely associated with adaptive stress-response signaling pathways (ASRSPs), including neuronal signaling related to corticotropin-releasing hormone, cAMP-mediated, protein kinase A, and CREB; pathways related to signaling involving CXCR4, melatonin, nitric oxide synthase, GP6, Gαs, MAPK, neuroinflammation, neuropathic pain, opioids, renin–angiotensin, AMPK, calcium, and synapses; and pathways associated with dendritic cell maturation and G-coupled protein receptor–mediated nutrient sensing in enteroendocrine cells.
All adaptogens have significant effects on the expression of genes encoding neurohormones CRH, GNRH, UCN, G protein–coupled and other transmembrane receptors TLR9, PRLR, CHRNE, GP1BA, PLXNA4, a ligand-dependent nuclear receptor RORA, transmembrane channels, transcription regulators FOS, FOXO6, SCX, STAT5A, ZFPM2, ZNF396, ZNF467, protein kinases MAPK10, MAPK13, MERTK, FLT1, PRKCH, ROS1, TTN), phosphatases PTPRD, PTPRR, peptidases, metabolic enzymes, a chaperone (HSPA6), and other proteins, all of which modulate numerous life processes, playing key roles in several canonical pathways involved in defense response and regulation of homeostasis in organisms. Functional investigation by interactive pathways analysis demonstrated that adaptogens activated ASRSPs associated with stress-induced and aging-related disorders such as chronic inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative cognitive impairment, metabolic disorders, and cancer.
We welcome researchers to contribute original research articles, as well as review articles, that will showcase current efforts in the field of prevention, mitigation and treatment of stress-induced and aging-associated disorders. The research hypothesis of a study must be defined very clearly. Most welcome are the manuscripts with the results of clinical trials of adaptogens in humans. In case of clinical trials, authors must fully follow the international guidelines on conducting and reporting such trials including any amendments based on trials with TCM products or herbal medicines.
We hope that this Research Topic will inspire communication among researchers and open up new research perspectives in the study of adaptogens in stress-induced and aging-associated disorders.
Keywords: Adaptogens, Aging-related disorders, Stress, adaptive stress, Neuroendocrine-Immune
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