Current Neuropharmacology (v.12, #6)

Can Tea Consumption be a Safe and Effective Therapy Against Diabetes Mellitus-Induced Neurodegeneration? by Ana R. Nunes, Marco G. Alves, Paula I. Moreira, Pedro F. Oliveira, Branca M. Silva (475-489).
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease that is rapidly increasing and has become a major public health problem. Type 2 DM (T2DM) is the most common type, accounting for up to 90-95% of the new diagnosed DM cases. The brain is very susceptible to glucose fluctuations and hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress (OS). It is well known that DM and the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases are associated. Tea, Camellia sinensis L., is one of the most consumed beverages. It contains several phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, methylxanthines (mainly caffeine) and L-theanine that are often reported to be responsible for tea’s health benefits, including in brain. Tea phytochemicals have been reported to be responsible for tea’s significant antidiabetic and neuroprotective properties and antioxidant potential. Epidemiological studies have shown that regular consumption of tea has positive effects on DM-caused complications and protects the brain against oxidative damage, contributing to an improvement of the cognitive function. Among the several reported benefits of tea consumption, those related with neurodegenerative diseases are of great interest. Herein, we discuss the potential beneficial effects of tea consumption and tea phytochemicals on DM and how their action can counteract the severe brain damage induced by this disease.

An Update of the Classical and Novel Methods Used for Measuring Fast Neurotransmitters During Normal and Brain Altered Function by Victor Hugo Cifuentes Castro, Carmen Lucia Lopez Valenzuela, Juan Carlos Salazar Sanchez, Kenia Pardo Pena, Silvia J. Lopez Perez, Jorge Ortega Ibarra, Alberto Morales Villagran (490-508).
To understand better the cerebral functions, several methods have been developed to study the brain activity, they could be related with morphological, electrophysiological, molecular and neurochemical techniques. Monitoring neurotransmitter concentration is a key role to know better how the brain works during normal or pathological conditions, as well as for studying the changes in neurotransmitter concentration with the use of several drugs that could affect or reestablish the normal brain activity. Immediate response of the brain to environmental conditions is related with the release of the fast acting neurotransmission by glutamate (Glu), γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and acetylcholine (ACh) through the opening of ligand-operated ion channels. Neurotransmitter release is mainly determined by the classical microdialysis technique, this is generally coupled to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Detection of neurotransmitters can be done by fluorescence, optical density, electrochemistry or other detection systems more sophisticated. Although the microdialysis method is the golden technique to monitor the brain neurotransmitters, it has a poor temporal resolution. Recently, with the use of biosensor the drawback of temporal resolution has been improved considerably, however other inconveniences have merged, such as stability, reproducibility and the lack of reliable biosensors mainly for GABA. The aim of this review is to show the important advances in the different ways to measure neurotransmitter concentrations; both with the use of classic techniques as well as with the novel methods and alternant approaches to improve the temporal resolution.

In the vertebrate retina, visual signals are segregated into parallel ON and OFF pathways, which provide information for light increments and decrements. The segregation is first evident at the level of the ON and OFF bipolar cells and it apparently remains as signals propagate to higher brain visual centers. A fundamental question in visual neuroscience is how these two parallel pathways function: are they independent from each other or do they interact somehow? In the latter case, what kinds of mechanisms are involved and what are the consequences from this cross-talk? This review summarizes current knowledge about the types of interactions between the ON and OFF channels in nonmammalian and mammalian retina. Data concerning the ON-OFF interactions in distal retina revealed by recording of single bipolar cell activity and electroretinographic ON (b-wave) and OFF (d-wave) responses are presented. Special emphasis is put on the ON-OFF interactions in proximal retina and their dependence on the state of light adaptation in mammalian retina. The involvement of the GABAergic and glycinergic systems in the ON-OFF crosstalk is also discussed.

Epilepsy is known as one of the most frequent neurological diseases, characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures. Oxidative stress is believed to directly participate in pathways leading to neurodegeneration, which serves as the most important propagating factor, leading to the epileptic condition and cognitive decline. Moreover, there is also a growing body of evidence showing the disturbance of antioxidant system balance and consequently increased production of reactive species in patients with epilepsy. A meta-analysis, conducted in the present review confirms an association between epilepsy and increased lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, it was also shown that some of the antiepileptic drugs could potentially be responsible for additionally increased lipid peroxidation. Therefore, it is reasonable to propose that during the epileptic process neuroprotective treatment with antioxidants could lead to less sever structural damages, reduced epileptogenesis and milder cognitive deterioration. To evaluate this hypothesis studies investigating the neuroprotective therapeutic potential of various antioxidants in cells, animal seizure models and patients with epilepsy have been reviewed. Numerous beneficial effects of antioxidants on oxidative stress markers and in some cases also neuroprotective effects were observed in animal seizure models. However, despite these encouraging results, till now only a few antioxidants have been further applied to patients with epilepsy as an add-on therapy. Based on the several positive findings in animal models, a strong need for more carefully planned, randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled clinical trials for the evaluation of antioxidants efficacy in patients with epilepsy is warranted.

Recent Progress of Imaging Agents for Parkinson’s Disease by Xiaoai Wu, Huawei Cai, Ran Ge, Lin Li, Zhiyun Jia (551-563).
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common progressive, neurodegenerative brain disease that is promoted by mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, protein aggregation and proteasome dysfunction in the brain. Compared with computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), non-invasive nuclear radiopharmaceuticals have great significance for the early diagnosis of PD due to their high sensitivity and specificity in atypical and preclinical cases. Based on the development of coordination chemistry and chelator design, radionuclides may be delivered to lesions by attaching to PD-related transporters and receptors, such as dopamine, serotonin, and others. In this review, we comprehensively detailed the current achievements in radionuclide imaging in Parkinson’s disease.

The Many Roles of Statins in Ischemic Stroke by Jingru Zhao, Xiangjian Zhang, Lipeng Dong, Ya Wen, Lili Cui (564-574).
Stroke is the third leading cause of human death. Endothelial dysfunction, thrombogenesis, inflammatory and oxidative stress damage, and angiogenesis play an important role in cerebral ischemic pathogenesis and represent a target for prevention and treatment. Statins have been found to improve endothelial function, modulate thrombogenesis, attenuate inflammatory and oxidative stress damage, and facilitate angiogenesis far beyond lowering cholesterol levels. Statins have also been proved to significantly decrease cardiovascular risk and to improve clinical outcome. Could statins be the new candidate agent for the prevention and therapy in ischemic stroke? In recent years, a vast expansion in the understanding of the pathophysiology of ischemic stroke and the pleiotropic effects of statins has occurred and clinical trials involving statins for the prevention and treatment of ischemic stroke have begun. These facts force us to revisit ischemic stroke and consider new strategies for prevention and treatment. Here, we survey the important developments in the non-lipid dependent pleiotropic effects and clinical effects of statins in ischemic stroke.