Introduction

In recent groundbreaking research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, a study investigates the neuroprotective effects of Oxalis corniculata Linn. (O. corniculata), a methanolic extract, on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis in experimental rats. This research is pivotal given the increasing global burden of Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disorder whose main pathogenic processes include neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Through their meticulous study, the team of researchers led by Abu-Elfotuh Karema K et al. aimed at dissecting the therapeutic mechanisms by which O. corniculata may counter these pathological processes.

Background

Alzheimer’s disease remains one of the most challenging neurological conditions to manage, with current therapeutic strategies offering limited efficacy and no cure. The search for alternative treatments has turned towards ethnopharmacology, the branch of medicine that deals with the application of traditional knowledge of natural substances in the treatment of diseases.

Oxalis corniculata, commonly known as creeping wood sorrel and a member of the Oxalidaceae family, is widely distributed across Asia, Europe, America, and Africa. Its traditional uses include management of epilepsy, gastric disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Broadly recognized for its bioactive compounds, O. corniculata’s pharmacological benefits have been attributed to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may offer significant therapeutic potential in managing AD.

Research Design

The study conducted by Abu-Elfotuh Karema K et al. involved the use of forty male albino rats, divided into four groups. While one group served as the control, the remaining groups received AlCl3 to induce Alzheimer’s-like neurodegenerative changes. The O. corniculata methanolic extract (ME) and selenium (Se), as comparisons, were administered to evaluate their effects on various molecular pathways implicated in AD pathology.

Methods and Results

The research leveraged advanced techniques such as ultraperformance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry to analyze the chemical profile of O. corniculata ME, revealing the presence of sixty-six compounds including organic acids, phenolics, cinnamic acid and its derivatives, fatty acids, and flavonoids.

The findings indicated that O. corniculata ME exhibited a notable ameliorative effect on several molecular pathways, namely Nrf2/HO-1, TLR4/NF-κβ/NLRP3, APOE4/LRP1, Wnt 3/β-catenin/GSK-3β, and PERK axes. This effect surpassed the results seen with selenium (Se), pointing to the methanolic extract’s potential in attenuating oxidative stress and inflammation, modulating the immune response, and promoting cellular survival via autophagy and anti-apoptotic cues.

Discussion

The implications of this research are profound. The O. corniculata extract’s influence on the APOE4/LRP1 and Wnt 3/β-catenin/GSK-3β pathways suggests it may modulate cholesterol metabolism and synaptic plasticity, respectively — both central considerations in AD progression. Moreover, the impact on TLR4/NF-κβ/NLRP3 implies a potential inhibition of glial activation and neuroinflammation.

The study is particularly interesting within the field of ethnopharmacology, highlighting the therapeutic value of traditional medicinal plants. O. corniculata’s interaction with autophagy and apoptotic pathways reinforces the plant’s potential in sustaining neural cell health and preventing untimely cell death, mechanisms crucial in AD.

Conclusion

The study by Abu-Elfotuh Karema K et al. published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology represents a significant step forward in the exploration of alternative therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. The findings open avenues for future research into the therapeutic application of Oxalis corniculata and similar naturally derived compounds.

To further these promising results, clinical trials would be essential to ascertain the safety, efficacy, and dosing regimen of O. corniculata extract for potential use in human patients. Should such studies validate these findings, O. corniculata may emerge as a nature-sourced beacon of hope for those grappling with Alzheimer’s disease.

Keywords

1. Oxalis corniculata Alzheimer’s
2. Neuroprotective effects O. corniculata
3. Alzheimer’s Disease Ethnopharmacology
4. Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment
5. Antioxidant Anti-inflammatory Alzheimer’s

References

1. Abu-Elfotuh, K. K., Hamdan, A. M., Mohamed, S. A., Bakr, R. O., Ahmed, A. H., … & Salem, M. A. (2024). The potential anti-Alzheimer’s activity of Oxalis corniculata Linn. Methanolic extract in experimental rats: Role of APOE4/LRP1, TLR4/NF-κβ/NLRP3, Wnt 3/β-catenin/GSK-3β, autophagy and apoptotic cues. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 324, 117731. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2024.117731
2. Alzheimer’s Association. (2023). Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures
3. Cai, Z., Wang, C., He, W., Tu, H., Tang, Z., Xiao, M., & Yan, L. J. (2018). Cerebral small vessel disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 10, 1695-1704.
4. Heneka, M. T., Carson, M. J., El Khoury, J., Landreth, G. E., Brosseron, F., Feinstein, D. L., … & Glass, C. K. (2015). Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. The Lancet Neurology, 14(4), 388-405.
5. Kepp, K. P. (2017). Bioinorganic chemistry of Alzheimer’s disease. Chemical Reviews, 117(15), 10043-10081.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2024.117731