Plant extracts and phytochemicals targeting α-synuclein aggregation in Parkinson’s disease models

Hayate Javed, Mohamed Fizur Nagoor Meeran, Sheikh Azimullah, Abdu Adem, Bassem Sadek, Shreesh Kumar Ojha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


α-Synuclein (α-syn) is a presynaptic protein that regulates the release of neurotransmitters fromsynaptic vesicles in the brain. α-Syn aggregates, including Lewy bodies, are features of both sporadic and familial forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). These aggregates undergo several key stages of fibrillation, oligomerization, and aggregation. Therapeutic benefits of drugs decline with disease progression and offer only symptomatic treatment. Novel therapeutic strategies are required which can either prevent or delay the progression of the disease. The link between α-syn and the etiopathogenesis and progression of PD are well-established in the literature. Studies indicate that α-syn is an important therapeutic target and inhibition of α-syn aggregation, oligomerization, and fibrillation are an important disease modification strategy. However, recent studies have shown that plant extracts and phytochemicals have neuroprotective effects on α-syn oligomerization and fibrillation by targeting different key stages of its formation. Although many reviews on the antioxidant-mediated, neuroprotective effect of plant extracts and phytochemicals on PD symptoms have been well-highlighted, the antioxidant mechanisms show limited success for translation to clinical studies. The identification of specific plant extracts and phytochemicals that target α-syn aggregation will provide selective molecules to develop new drugs for PD. The present review provides an overview of plant extracts and phytochemicals that target α-syn in PD and summarizes the observed effects and the underlying mechanisms. Furthermore, we provide a synopsis of current experimental models and techniques used to evaluate plant extracts and phytochemicals. Plant extracts and phytochemicals were found to inhibit the aggregation or fibril formation of oligomers. These also appear to direct α-syn oligomer formation into its unstructured form or promote non-toxic pathways and suggested to be valuable drug candidates for PD and related synucleinopathy. Current evidences from in vitro studies require confirmation in the in vivo studies. Further studies are needed to ascertain their potential effects and safety in preclinical studies for pharmaceutical/nutritional development of these phytochemicals or dietary inclusion of the plant extracts in PD treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2201
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 19 2019


  • Bioactive agents
  • Natural products
  • Neuroprotective
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plants
  • α-synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Plant extracts and phytochemicals targeting α-synuclein aggregation in Parkinson’s disease models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this