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Trends Neurosci. 2006 Nov;29(11):632-9. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

Neurohormetic phytochemicals: Low-dose toxins that induce adaptive neuronal stress responses.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA. mattsonm@grc.nia.nih.gov

Abstract

Diets rich in vegetables and fruits are associated with reduced risk of several major diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders. Although some beneficial phytochemicals might function solely as antioxidants, it is becoming clear that many of the beneficial chemicals in vegetables and fruits evolved as toxins (to dissuade insects and other predators) that, at subtoxic doses, activate adaptive cellular stress-response pathways in a variety of cells including neurons. Examples of such 'preconditioning' or 'neurohormesis' pathways include those involving cell-survival signaling kinases, the transcription factors NRF2 and CREB, and histone deacetylases of the sirtuin family. In these ways, neurohormetic phytochemicals such as resveratrol, sulforaphanes and curcumin might protect neurons against injury and disease by stimulating the production of antioxidant enzymes, neurotrophic factors, protein chaperones and other proteins that help cells to withstand stress. Thus, as we discuss in this review, highly conserved longevity and survival pathways in neurons are the targets of many phytochemicals.

PMID:
17000014
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2006.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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