Neuroinflammation is one of the main mechanisms involved in the progression of several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson, Alzheimer, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and others. The activation of microglia is the main feature of neuroinflammation, promoting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and resulting in the progressive neuronal cell death. Natural compounds, such as flavonoids, possess neuroprotective potential probably related to their ability to modulate the inflammatory responses involved in neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, pure flavonoids (e.g., quercetin, genistein, hesperetin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate) or enriched-extracts, can reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β and COX-2), down-regulate inflammatory markers and prevent neural damage. This anti-inflammatory activity is primarily related to the regulation of microglial cells, mediated by their effects on MAPKs and NF-κB signalling pathways, as demonstrated by in vivo and in vitro data. The present work reviews the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases, highlighting the potential therapeutic effects of flavonoids as a promising approach to develop innovative neuroprotective strategy.
Keywords: Flavonoids; Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation.
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