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      Pharmacological Properties and Molecular Mechanisms of Thymol: Prospects for Its Therapeutic Potential and Pharmaceutical Development


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          Thymol, chemically known as 2-isopropyl-5-methylphenol is a colorless crystalline monoterpene phenol. It is one of the most important dietary constituents in thyme species. For centuries, it has been used in traditional medicine and has been shown to possess various pharmacological properties including antioxidant, free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antitumor activities. The present article presents a detailed review of the scientific literature which reveals the pharmacological properties of thymol and its multiple therapeutic actions against various cardiovascular, neurological, rheumatological, gastrointestinal, metabolic and malignant diseases at both biochemical and molecular levels. The noteworthy effects of thymol are largely attributed to its anti-inflammatory ( via inhibiting recruitment of cytokines and chemokines), antioxidant ( via scavenging of free radicals, enhancing the endogenous enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and chelation of metal ions), antihyperlipidemic ( via increasing the levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol and decreasing the levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol in the circulation and membrane stabilization) ( via maintaining ionic homeostasis) effects. This review presents an overview of the current in vitro and in vivo data supporting thymol’s therapeutic activity and the challenges concerning its use for prevention and its therapeutic value as a dietary supplement or as a pharmacological agent or as an adjuvant along with current therapeutic agents for the treatment of various diseases. It is one of the potential candidates of natural origin that has shown promising therapeutic potential, pharmacological properties and molecular mechanisms as well as pharmacokinetic properties for the pharmaceutical development of thymol.

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          Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in 32 selected herbs

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            Classification and basic pathology of Alzheimer disease.

            The lesions of Alzheimer disease include accumulation of proteins, losses of neurons and synapses, and alterations related to reactive processes. Extracellular Abeta accumulation occurs in the parenchyma as diffuse, focal or stellate deposits. It may involve the vessel walls of arteries, veins and capillaries. The cases in which the capillary vessel walls are affected have a higher probability of having one or two apoepsilon 4 alleles. Parenchymal as well as vascular Abeta deposition follows a stepwise progression. Tau accumulation, probably the best histopathological correlate of the clinical symptoms, takes three aspects: in the cell body of the neuron as neurofibrillary tangle, in the dendrites as neuropil threads, and in the axons forming the senile plaque neuritic corona. The progression of tau pathology is stepwise and stereotyped from the entorhinal cortex, through the hippocampus, to the isocortex. The neuronal loss is heterogeneous and area-specific. Its mechanism is still discussed. The timing of the synaptic loss, probably linked to Abeta peptide itself, maybe as oligomers, is also controversial. Various clinico-pathological types of Alzheimer disease have been described, according to the type of the lesions (plaque only and tangle predominant), the type of onset (focal onset), the cause (genetic or sporadic) and the associated lesions (Lewy bodies, vascular lesions, hippocampal sclerosis, TDP-43 inclusions and argyrophilic grain disease).
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              Mechanisms of antibacterial action of three monoterpenes.

              In the present paper, we report the antimicrobial efficacy of three monoterpenes [linalyl acetate, (+)menthol, and thymol] against the gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus and the gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli. For a better understanding of their mechanisms of action, the capability of these three monoterpenes to damage biomembranes was evaluated by monitoring the release, following exposure to the compounds under study, of the water-soluble fluorescent marker carboxyfluorescein from unilamellar vesicles with different lipidic compositions (phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylserine [9:1], phosphatidylcholine/stearylamine [9:1], and phosphatidylglycerol/cardiolipin [9:1]). Furthermore, the interaction of the terpenes tested with dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine multilamellar vesicles as model membranes was monitored by means of differential scanning calorimetry. Finally, the results were related to the relative lipophilicity and water solubility of the compounds examined. Taken together, our findings lead us to speculate that the antimicrobial effect of (+)menthol, thymol, and linalyl acetate may result, at least partially, from a perturbation of the lipid fraction of microorganism plasma membrane, resulting in alterations of membrane permeability and in leakage of intracellular materials. Besides being related to physicochemical characteristics of the drugs (such as lipophilicity and water solubility), this effect seems to be dependent on lipid composition and net surface charge of microbial membranes. Furthermore, the drugs might cross the cell membranes, penetrating into the interior of the cell and interacting with intracellular sites critical for antibacterial activity.

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                26 June 2017
                : 8
                : 380
                [1] 1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Health Science, United Arab Emirates University Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
                [2] 2Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine and Health Science, United Arab Emirates University Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
                Author notes

                Edited by: Salvador Cañigueral, University of Barcelona, Spain

                Reviewed by: Sameer Goyal, R. C. Patel Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, India; Francisco Pérez García, University of Barcelona, Spain

                *Correspondence: Shreesh K. Ojha, shreeshojha@ 123456uaeu.ac.ae

                This article was submitted to Ethnopharmacology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology

                Copyright © 2017 Nagoor Meeran, Javed, Al Taee, Azimullah and Ojha.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 14 February 2017
                : 31 May 2017
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 8, Equations: 0, References: 294, Pages: 34, Words: 0
                Funded by: United Arab Emirates University 10.13039/501100006013

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                thymol,antioxidant,free radical scavenger,cancer,animals,drug discovery,phytochemicals,natural compounds


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