Thymoquinone as a Potential Neuroprotector in Acute and Chronic Forms of Cerebral Pathology

Biochemistry (Mosc). 2020 Feb;85(2):167-176. doi: 10.1134/S0006297920020042.


Thymoquinone is one of the main active components of the essential oil from black cumin (Nigella sativa) seeds. Thymoquinone exhibits a wide range of pharmacological activities, including neuroprotective action demonstrated in the models of brain ischemia/reperfusion, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and traumatic brain injury. The neuroprotective effect of thymoquinone is mediated via inhibition of lipid peroxidation, downregulation of proinflammatory cytokines, maintenance of mitochondrial membrane potential, and prevention of apoptosis through inhibition of caspases-3, -8, and -9. Thymoquinone-based mitochondria-targeted antioxidants are accumulated in the mitochondria and exhibit neuroprotective properties in nanomolar concentrations. Thymoquinone reduces the negative effects of acute and chronic forms of brain pathologies. The mechanisms of the pharmacological action of thymoquinone and its chemical derivatives require more comprehensive studying. In this paper, we formulated the prospects of application of thymoquinone and thymoquinone-based drugs in the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Benzoquinones / chemistry
  • Benzoquinones / pharmacology*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*


  • Benzoquinones
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • thymoquinone