Nutraceuticals had always been known for their therapeutic effects in ancient medicine and had been the primary healing remedy until the introduction of modern chemistry and pharmacology. However, their use has not been dismissed but actually is acquiring a new acclamation among the scientific community especially for their efficacy on the Central Nervous System (CNS). Molecular mechanisms of the most common neurodegenerative diseases are now being uncovered and along with that the molecules that drive the neurodegenerative processes. It is not surprising that some natural compounds can interact with those molecules and interfere with the pathological pathways halting the cascades that ultimately lead to neuronal cell death. The plant Ruta graveolens has gained increased attention in medicinal chemistry due to its beneficial role to treat a variety of human diseases and also because of the presence of a huge number of compounds belonging to different classes of natural products, including neuroactive compounds potentially able to promote neuroprotection. Among all the components of the plant extract, rutin - which is highly, if not the most, abundant - positively interacts with the neurophysiology of the CNS too, being particularly efficient against neurotoxicity. Rutin, has proven to be protective in a variety of experimental settings of neurodegeneration. Finally, it has been shown that the water extract of Ruta graveolens (RGWE) induces death of glioblastoma cells but not of neuronal cells. Moreover, it also fosters cell cycle re-entry and differentiation of neuronal cells. This peculiarity represents a promising tool to promote neural plasticity in pathological conditions.
Keywords: Glioblastoma; Natural compounds; Neural plasticity; Neurodegeneration; Ruta graveolens.
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