The Open Biology Journal




ISSN: 1874-1967 ― Volume 9, 2021
REVIEW ARTICLE

Human Brain Disorders: A Review



Falaq Naz1, Yasir Hasan Siddique1, *
1 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Drosophila Transgenic Laboratory, Section of Genetics, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh-202002, Uttar Pradesh, India

Abstract

Background:

Due to the stressful life, brain disorders are considered as a significant global healthcare problem. It has generated a great need for continuous research for understanding brain structure as well as functions in context to health and diseases.

Scope and Approach:

The structure and functions of the brain were questioned and studied since Ancient Greek times and led to the compilation of enormous information on the subject globally. With the advent of new technology, the researchers are able to discover the causes of brain diseases/disorders.

Conclusion:

In the present review, we have compiled various diseases and disorders related to the brain, along with their symptoms and the treatment strategies.

Keywords: Brain, Disorder, Human, Neuron, Diseases, Neurodegeneration.


Article Information


Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 8
First Page: 6
Last Page: 21
Publisher Id: TOBIOJ-8-6
DOI: 10.2174/1874196702008010006

Article History:

Received Date: 16/4/2020
Revision Received Date: 28/7/2020
Acceptance Date: 5/8/2020
Electronic publication date: 25/09/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Naz and Siddique.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Drosophila Transgenic Laboratory, Section of Genetics, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh-202002, Uttar Pradesh, India; Tel: 0571-2700920-3447; E-mail: yasir_hasansiddique@rediffmail.com





1. INTRODUCTION

The brain is the command center of the Central Nervous System (CNS) made up of a large mass of nerve cells, protected in the skull [1Nieuwenhuys R, Ten Donkelaar HJ, Nicholson C. The meaning of it all.The central nervous system of vertebrates 1998; 2135-95.
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]. It has three main parts i.e. the cerebrum, the brainstem, and the cerebellum. It controls the intellectual activities of the body, like processing, integrating, and coordinating the information received from the sensory organs. It is a jelly-like mass of tissue, weighing about 1.4 kg, and containing 86 billion nerve cells [4Roth G, Dicke U. Evolution of the brain and intelligence. Trends Cogn Sci (Regul Ed) 2005; 9(5): 250-7.
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]. The cerebrum is connected to the brainstem, which, on the other end, connects to the spinal cord. The brainstem consists of three parts, namely the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata. Underneath the cerebral cortex, there are several brain structures, namely the thalamus, the pineal gland, the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the amygdala and the hippocampus. The cross-section of each cerebral hemisphere shows a ventricle cavity where the cerebrospinal fluid is produced and circulated. Below the corpus callosum is the septum pellucidum, a membrane that separates the lateral ventricles [8Butler AB. Chordate evolution and the origin of craniates: an old brain in a new head. Anat Rec 2000; 261(3): 111-25.
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]. The cerebrum is the largest part of the human brain. It is divided into two cerebral hemispheres, having two-third of the total weight of the brain. One hemisphere is functionally dominant and controls language and speech. The other hemisphere interprets visual and spatial information. The two hemispheres of the human brain, the left and right, are connected together by a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere is divided into four lobes, namely the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe [10Chiel HJ, Beer RD. The brain has a body: Adaptive behavior emerges from interactions of nervous system, body and environment. Trends Neurosci 1997; 20(12): 553-7.
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]. The frontal lobe controls cognitive functions and voluntary movements or activities such as emotional expression, problem-solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors [14Müller WE, Eckert GP, Scheuer K, Cairns NJ, Maras A, Gattaz WF. Effects of β-amyloid peptides on the fluidity of membranes from frontal and parietal lobes of human brain. High potencies of A β 1-42 and A β 1-43. Amyloid 1998; 5(1): 10-5.
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]. The temporal lobe controls the primary auditory perceptions such as hearing, and contains the primary auditory cortex, which receives the sensory information from the ears and secondary areas, and process information into meaningful terms which are expressed in the form of speech and words [15Cowell PE, Turetsky BI, Gur RC, Grossman RI, Shtasel DL, Gur RE. Sex differences in aging of the human frontal and temporal lobes. J Neurosci 1994; 14(8): 4748-55.
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]. The parietal lobe processes information about temperature, taste, touch, and movement [14Müller WE, Eckert GP, Scheuer K, Cairns NJ, Maras A, Gattaz WF. Effects of β-amyloid peptides on the fluidity of membranes from frontal and parietal lobes of human brain. High potencies of A β 1-42 and A β 1-43. Amyloid 1998; 5(1): 10-5.
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]. The occipital lobe is primarily responsible for vision [16Frackowiak RS. Human brain function 2004.].

2. BRAIN CELLS

The brain cells are referred as neurons and the supporting non-neuron cells are called glial cells. The average adult human brain contains approximately 86 billion neurons. It was suggested by many researchers that both neurons and glial cells are necessary for the proper functioning of the brain. Neurons in the brain are responsible for sending and receiving electrical and biochemical signals [17Aitken JT, Bridger JE. Neuron size and neuron population density in the lumbosacral region of the cat’s spinal cord. J Anat 1961; 95(1): 38-53.
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]. The neuron is made up of three basic parts: the cell body or soma, branching dendrites, and the axon. They are building blocks of the brain and transmit information to other neurons, muscles and tissues throughout the body.

Fig. (1)
Major human neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatry disorders.


Neurons help to think, feel, move, and comprehend the world around us. Glia cells are also very important cells of the nervous system. The name “glia” is the Latin word for “glue” [18Jäkel S, Dimou L. Glial cells and their function in the adult brain: A journey through the history of their ablation. Front Cell Neurosci 2017; 11: 24.
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]. The glial cells actively participate in brain signaling and are necessary for the healthy functioning of neurons. There are many types of glial cells in the brain. The three important types of glial cell are Oligodendrocytes: which help in insulating the axons and to pass the electrical signals properly at incredible speed over long distances; Microglia: also known as immune cells of the CNS, move around within the brain and constantly communicate with other glia cells; Astrocytes: These are star-shaped cells supporting to the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), provide nutrients to the neurons, repair the nervous tissue, and facilitate neurotransmission [19Yajima K, Suzuki K. Demyelination and remyelination in the rat central nervous system following ethidium bromide injection. Lab Invest 1979; 41(5): 385-92.
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3. BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER (BBB)

Blood vessels are critical in delivering oxygen and nutrients to all the tissues and organs throughout the body. The blood vessels system of CNS is unique, constituting the BBB, which allow these vessels to tightly regulate the movement of ions, molecules, and cells between the blood and the brain [22Daneman R, Zhou L, Kebede AA, Barres BA. Pericytes are required for blood-brain barrier integrity during embryogenesis. Nature 2010; 468(7323): 562-6.
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]. The purpose of the BBB is to protect it against circulating toxins or pathogens, while at the same time allowing the vital nutrients to reach the brain. BBB is formed by the brain capillary endothelium [23Daneman R, Prat A. The blood-brain barrier. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2015; 7(1)a020412
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a020412] [PMID: 25561720]
]. It also maintains the level of hormones, nutrients and water in the finely tuned brain environment [24Tsuji A. Small molecular drug transfer across the blood-brain barrier via carrier-mediated transport systems. NeuroRx 2005; 2(1): 54-62.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1602/neurorx.2.1.54] [PMID: 15717057]
]. The delivery of therapeutic agents to the specific regions of the brain is a major challenge in the treatment of almost all types of brain disorders. The BBB hampers the delivery of many potentially important diagnostic and therapeutic agents to the brain. Therapeutic molecules and antibodies that might otherwise be effective in therapy do not cross the BBB in sufficient amount [25Ballabh P, Braun A, Nedergaard M. The blood-brain barrier: An overview: Structure, regulation, and clinical implications. Neurobiol Dis 2004; 16(1): 1-13.
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].

4. BRAIN DISORDERS

Any deformities, dysfunction and disease condition in the brain affect the whole body. The brain is susceptible to neuronal disease and neurons or tissue infection. Damage can be caused by trauma (psychiatric condition), or a loss of blood supply (accidental or environmental factors) known as a stroke. In brain injury, the degeneration of brain cells occurs [26Clarke PGH, Oppenheim RW. Neuron death in vertebrate development: in vitro methods. Methods Cell Biol 1995; 46: 277-321.
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, 27Finch CE, Day JR. Molecular biology of aging in the nervous system: a synopsis of the levels of mechanisms. Neurodegener Dis 1994; 33-50.]. It depends upon a wide range of internal as well as external factors. Brain damage due to trauma is induced by personal factors or mentally unstable conditions, while neurotoxicity refers to chemically induced neuronal damage [26Clarke PGH, Oppenheim RW. Neuron death in vertebrate development: in vitro methods. Methods Cell Biol 1995; 46: 277-321.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0091-679X(08)61933-0] [PMID: 7609654]
]. Broadly human brain disorders are divided into two categories namely, Neurodegenerative diseases and Neuropsychiatric disorders (Fig. 1). Both are tough to understand and incurable, but there are medicines, surgery and physical therapies applied for the treatment or to suppress the symptoms of the diseases (Table 1) [28Lancaster E. The diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune encephalitis. J Clin Neurol 2016; 12(1): 1-13.
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].

Table 1
Types of human brain diseases/disorders with their symptoms and treatments (Source: https://medlineplus.gov/degenerativenervediseases.html).


4.1. Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative Diseases are a composite form of disorders characterized by progressive loss of neurons, which hamper the function of the Central Nervous System (CNS) as well as Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). These diseases show their impact on both mental as well as and physical activity of the human body such as, movement, speech, memory, intelligence and coordination. The causes of these diseases are not specific due to the similarity in symptoms. Some common neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Prion disease, Huntington’s Disease (HD), Spino-Cerebellar Ataxia (SCA) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) [125Magnavita JJ. EdHandbook of personality disorders: Theory and practice 2004.]. In AD, neuron death has been reported amygdala, cortex, and hippocampal region of the brain [126Başar E, Güntekin B. A review of brain oscillations in cognitive disorders and the role of neurotransmitters. Brain Res 2008; 1235: 172-93.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2008.06.103] [PMID: 18640103]
]; while in PD, substantia nigra pars compacta shows neuronal death that leads to the deficiency of dopamine [127Hardy JA, Higgins GA. Alzheimer’s disease: The amyloid cascade hypothesis. Science 1992; 256(5054): 184-5.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1566067] [PMID: 1566067]
].

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most prevalent and mainly affects the population of above 60 years. It was first described in 1906 by German Physician Alois Alzheimer on the basis of a medical case of Auguste D, a patient who showed symptoms of memory loss and some psychological changes like mood swing and unresponsive behavior. AD was named after German Doctor Alois Alzheimer by Emil Kraepelin, who was the colleague of Dr. Alzheimer. In 1910, he mentioned for the first time this disease as “Alzheimer’s disease” in his medical book named ‘Psychiatrie’ [128Cipriani G, Dolciotti C, Picchi L, Bonuccelli U. Alzheimer and his disease: A brief history. Neurol Sci 2011; 32(2): 275-9.
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, 129Jankovic J. Parkinson’s disease: Clinical features and diagnosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008; 79(4): 368-76.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.2007.131045] [PMID: 18344392]
]. It is charac- terized by progressive memory loss and cognitive impairments. Mainly two proteins are responsible for causing this disease i.e., beta-amyloid (β) and tau protein which show a high amount of accumulation in the brain. Both proteins may lead to the degeneration of neurons [126Başar E, Güntekin B. A review of brain oscillations in cognitive disorders and the role of neurotransmitters. Brain Res 2008; 1235: 172-93.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2008.06.103] [PMID: 18640103]
]. The pathological hallmark of AD includes, the presence of extracellular amyloid β plaques and formation of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles that leads to synaptic dysfunction, neuronal loss, and brain atrophy [130Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimers Dement 2017; 13(4): 325-73.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2017.02.001]
].

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after AD. It is a progressive CNS disorder that affects mainly the movement of the body. It affects both motor as well as non-motor functions. The causes of PD are still unknown, but the involvement of both genetic and environmental factors considered to be responsible for the progression of the disease. It was described by Dr. James Parkinson (1817) in his monograph entitled “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy” [131Dubois B, Hampel H, Feldman HH, et al. Proceedings of the meeting of the International Working Group (IWG) and the American Alzheimer’s Association on “The Preclinical State of AD”; July 23, 2015; Washington DC, USA. Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease: Definition, natural history, and diagnostic criteria. Alzheimers Dement 2016; 12(3): 292-323.
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, 132Jost BC, Grossberg GT. The evolution of psychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease: A natural history study. J Am Geriatr Soc 1996; 44(9): 1078-81.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1996.tb02942.x] [PMID: 8790235]
]. It is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the accumulation of Lewy bodies in the substantia nigra pars compacta of the mid brain. Clinical symptoms mainly involves rigidity, akinesia, tremors, postural instability, and non-motor symptoms [133Calne DB, Langston JW. Aetiology of Parkinson's disease. Lancet 1983; 2(8365-66): 1457-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(83)90802-4]
].

In 1920, Neurologists Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt and Alfons Maria Jakob describe prion disease as a human neurological disorder. Prion disease is also known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) and is characterized as rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders which not only affect humans but also animals [134McCall B. Young-onset Parkinson’s disease: A guide to care and support. Nurs Times 2003; 99(30): 28-31.
[PMID: 12961940]
]. In this disease a normal cell surface glycoprotein (PrPC) is converted into conformational altered isoform i.e. (PrPSc) . PrPSC is responsible for the neurological disorder [135Sveinbjornsdottir S. The clinical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. J Neurochem 2016; 139(Suppl. 1): 318-24.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jnc.13691] [PMID: 27401947]
]. The most common form of prion disease that affects human is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and animal (cows) bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or ‘mad cow’ disease). Prions are protein that are misfolded and also have the property to propagate [136Chesebro B. Introduction to the transmissible spongiform encephal- opathies or prion diseases. Br Med Bull 2003; 66: 1-20.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bmb/66.1.1] [PMID: 14522845]
, 137Goldmann W. PrP genetics in ruminant transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Vet Res 2008; 39(4): 30.
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].

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is also known as Huntington’s chorea. It results due to the progressive degeneration of neuronal cells in the brain. George Huntington, described it in 1872 as a hereditary neurodegenerative disease [138Castle AR, Gill AC. Physiological functions of the cellular prion protein. Front Mol Biosci 2017; 4: 19.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2017.00019] [PMID: 28428956]
]. It is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disease which results from the unstable trinucleotide repetition of Cytosine-Adenine-Guanine (CAG). It is clinically characterized by involuntary movements, cognitive decline, and behavioral changes [139Brown P. The risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (‘mad cow disease’) to human health. JAMA 1997; 278(12): 1008-11.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.1997.03550120068035] [PMID: 9307349]
].

4.2. Neuropsychiatry Disorders/Conditions

Neuropsychiatry is a kind of disorder or conditions that deals with mental disruption which results due to the improper functioning of the brain. It is defined as mental disorders or disorders of the brain [140Vonsattel JP, DiFiglia M. Huntington disease. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 1998; 57(5): 369-84.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00005072-199805000-00001] [PMID: 9596408]
]. According to Berrios and Markova,, neuropsychiatry explains about brain having some lesions that disfigured the brain leading to mental disorder [141Andrew SE, Goldberg YP, Kremer B, et al. Huntington disease without CAG expansion: phenocopies or errors in assignment? Am J Hum Genet 1994; 54(5): 852-63.
[PMID: 8178825]
]. Neuropsychiatric disorders severely affect the well-being of a person with a negative impact on general health. It hampers the ability of learning (childhood) and inability of focusing or concentrating in work (adulthood) [141Andrew SE, Goldberg YP, Kremer B, et al. Huntington disease without CAG expansion: phenocopies or errors in assignment? Am J Hum Genet 1994; 54(5): 852-63.
[PMID: 8178825]
, 142Brower MC, Price BH. Neuropsychiatry of frontal lobe dysfunction in violent and criminal behaviour: A critical review. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2001; 71(6): 720-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.71.6.720] [PMID: 11723190]
]. They are complex and hard to understand because of the similarity in symptoms. Some common neuropsychiatric disorders are seizures, attention or cognitive deficit disorders, uncontrollable anger, migraine headaches, addictions, eating disorders, depression and anxiety. The person suffering from neuropsychiatry disorders shows changes in behavior i.e. aggression, violence, criminal activity, antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, impulse control disorders and episodic dyscontrol [143Berrios GE, Marková IS. The concept of neuropsychiatry: A historical overview. J Psychosom Res 2002; 53(2): 629-38.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3999(02)00427-0] [PMID: 12169337]
, 144Kas MJ, Penninx B, Sommer B, Serretti A, Arango C, Marston H. A quantitative approach to neuropsychiatry: The why and the how. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2019; 97: 3-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.12.008] [PMID: 29246661]
]. The causes of brain disorders are still unclear, but some genetic as well as environmental factors are responsible for the diseased condition. These disorders have a relatively high prevalence and show early onset (autism in childhood and schizophrenia in adulthood) [145Autry AE, Monteggia LM. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacol Rev 2012; 64(2): 238-58.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/pr.111.005108] [PMID: 22407616]
, 146Cummings JL, Mega MS. Neuropsychiatry and behavioral neuroscience 2003.]. Table 1 summarizes the different categories of brain disorders with their symptoms and preventions.

5. CAUSES OF NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES AND NEUROPSYCHIATRY DISORDERS

The role of genes and the environment for the progression of neurological disease/disorders cannot be ignored. Any damage to the CNS leads to cell death which leads to the loss of function [147Rapoport J, Chavez A, Greenstein D, Addington A, Gogtay N. Autism spectrum disorders and childhood-onset schizophrenia: clinical and biological contributions to a relation revisited. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2009; 48(1): 10-8.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CHI.0b013e31818b1c63] [PMID: 19218893]
]. The brain disorders hampered the normal functioning of the brain and lead to the progressive decline or sudden complete loss of brain functions (sensory, motor, and cognitive) [148Cornblatt BA, Keilp JG. Impaired attention, genetics, and the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull 1994; 20(1): 31-46.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/20.1.31] [PMID: 8197420]
]. There are some neurodegenerative diseases which are characterized by the abnormal accumulation of the protein in the brain tissue i.e. Tau protein, β-amyloid (accumulation of plaques in the form of neurofibrillary tangles) in AD, misfolded Huntingtin protein in HD, aggregation of ubiquitinated proteins in ALS, α-synuclein accumulation in PD, and cell surface glycoprotein accumulation in prion disease [149Uhl GR, Grow RW. The burden of complex genetics in brain disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2004; 61(3): 223-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.61.3.223] [PMID: 14993109]
-152Prusiner SB. Shattuck lecture--neurodegenerative diseases and prions. N Engl J Med 2001; 344(20): 1516-26.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJM200105173442006] [PMID: 11357156]
]. Some studies have suggested that the mutation in genes leads to the accumulation of misfolded protein. Physical injury to the brain may lead to synaptic insufficiency, massive cell death and inflammation that may lead to temporary or permanent loss of various bodily actions like coordination in the movement (ataxias) and different cognitive functions like memory, learning, decision-making skills, talking and dementia. There is no permanent treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. In advanced stages of the diseases, DBS and cell transplantation therapies are used for controlling/reducing the physiological as well as cognitive deficits [153Goedert M. Alpha-synuclein and neurodegenerative diseases. Nat Rev Neurosci 2001; 2(7): 492-501.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35081564] [PMID: 11433374]
-155Taber KH, Hurley RA, Yudofsky SC. Diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Annu Rev Med 2010; 61: 121-33.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.med.051408.105018] [PMID: 19824816]
].

In AD, aggregation of β-amyloid protein accelerates the formation of neurofibrillary tangles which leads to synaptopathy in the form of glial inflammation and neuronal cell death in the cerebral cortex, sub-cortical regions, temporal lobes, parietal lobes, and cingulate gyrus in brain [156Vadakkan KI. Neurodegenerative disorders share common features of “loss of function” states of a proposed mechanism of nervous system functions. Biomed Pharmacother 2016; 83: 412-30.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2016.06.042] [PMID: 27424323]
]. In PD the depletion of dopamine producing neurons in substantia nigra is accelerated by the intracellular accumulation of protein α-synuclein bound to ubiquitin complex. These protein aggregates form cytoplasmic inclusions in the form of Lewy bodies, which play a significant role in familial as well as sporadic cases of PD [133Calne DB, Langston JW. Aetiology of Parkinson's disease. Lancet 1983; 2(8365-66): 1457-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(83)90802-4]
]. Similarly, HD is also caused by the intracellular accumulation of Huntingtin protein. The mutation in huntingtin (gene) results in the death of cells in the striatum region of the brain [138Castle AR, Gill AC. Physiological functions of the cellular prion protein. Front Mol Biosci 2017; 4: 19.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2017.00019] [PMID: 28428956]
]. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a glial disorder. It involves massive damage to myelinated fibers through autoimmune reaction, causing axonal injury and further loss of neuronal communication mostly in the white matter tracts, the basal ganglia, and the brain stem [157Hervás R, Oroz J, Galera-Prat A, et al. Common features at the start of the neurodegeneration cascade. PLoS Biol 2012; 10(5)e1001335
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001335] [PMID: 22666178]
]. It has been reported that the genetic factors responsible for AD ranges from 49-79% [156Vadakkan KI. Neurodegenerative disorders share common features of “loss of function” states of a proposed mechanism of nervous system functions. Biomed Pharmacother 2016; 83: 412-30.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2016.06.042] [PMID: 27424323]
]. Similarly, for PD it ranges from 5-10% [156Vadakkan KI. Neurodegenerative disorders share common features of “loss of function” states of a proposed mechanism of nervous system functions. Biomed Pharmacother 2016; 83: 412-30.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2016.06.042] [PMID: 27424323]
]. While, HD is considered as a pure genetic disorder which is caused by tri-nucleotide repeat expansions (CAG) nucleotides [138Castle AR, Gill AC. Physiological functions of the cellular prion protein. Front Mol Biosci 2017; 4: 19.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2017.00019] [PMID: 28428956]
]. The whole genome sequence may help both researchers as well as clinicians to understand the genetic factors that play an important role in health, disease, and drug response [158Brookmeyer R, Johnson E, Ziegler-Graham K, Arrighi HM. Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement 2007; 3(3): 186-91.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2007.04.381] [PMID: 19595937]
]. The interplay of genetic and environmental factors that hampers the brain function is difficult to understand [159Datta G, Colasanti A, Rabiner EA, et al. Neuroinflammation and its relationship to changes in brain volume and white matter lesions in multiple sclerosis. Brain 2017; 140(11): 2927-38.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx228] [PMID: 29053775]
]. It was studied that in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, genetic factors play a huge role in the development of disease. In a twin study, it ranges from 70-80%. Similarly, in depression, the genetic factors showed significant increment of 38% to 75% [160Brown RC, Lockwood AH, Sonawane BR. Neurodegenerative diseases: An overview of environmental risk factors. Environ Health Perspect 2005; 113(9): 1250-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.7567] [PMID: 16140637]
, 161Chin-Chan M, Navarro-Yepes J, Quintanilla-Vega B. Environmental pollutants as risk factors for neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Front Cell Neurosci 2015; 9: 124.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2015.00124] [PMID: 25914621]
]. In dementia cases, 1 in 4 person aged above 55 has a family history of dementia [162Uher R. Gene-environment interactions in severe mental illness. Front Psychiatry 2014; 5: 48.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00048] [PMID: 24860514]
].

Dementia is an umbrella term used to demonstrate a group of symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases. The late stages of the neurodegenerative diseases lead to significant cognitive dysfunctions that are enough to affect a routine life. The symptoms of Dementia shows deficits in memory and learning, impairment in visual, loss of attentive function, as well as behavioral disturbances [162Uher R. Gene-environment interactions in severe mental illness. Front Psychiatry 2014; 5: 48.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00048] [PMID: 24860514]
]. Epigenetic factors also play an important role in aggravating the symptoms or enhancing the disease like symptoms. Some metals have been reported to contribute for the progression of AD and PD i.e. lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Almuniun [163Faraone SV, Larsson H. Genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mol Psychiatry 2019; 24(4): 562-75.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0070-0] [PMID: 29892054]
, 164Franke B, Faraone SV, Asherson P, et al. International Multicentre persistent ADHD CollaboraTion. The genetics of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults, a review. Mol Psychiatry 2012; 17(10): 960-87.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/mp.2011.138] [PMID: 22105624]
]. Pesticides also play an important role in neurological disorders like Paraquat (PQ) and 1-methy l-4 phenyl l-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) [165Kozlowski H, Luczkowski M, Remelli M, Valensin D. Copper, zinc and iron in neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases). Coord Chem Rev 2012; 256(19-20): 2129-41.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2012.03.013]
]. Rotenone, like Trichloroethylene (TCE) and toxic nanoparticles have also been shown to cause neuronal cell damage and improper functioning of the CNS [166Barnham KJ, Bush AI. Metals in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Curr Opin Chem Biol 2008; 12(2): 222-8.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.02.019] [PMID: 18342639]
, 167Jokanović M. Neurotoxic effects of organophosphorus pesticides and possible association with neurodegenerative diseases in man: A review. Toxicology 2018; 410: 125-31.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2018.09.009] [PMID: 30266654]
].

6. DATABASE FOR NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

Due to the complex pathophysiology and overlapping of symptoms in various neurodegenerative diseases it is the need of the hour to build a database for neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers have developed an online web database (DND: Database of neurodegenerative disorders) that contains more than 100 neuro related disease concepts having the information of all related genes, their products, pathophysiological pathways and treatment strategies [168Uversky VN. Neurotoxicant-induced animal models of Parkinson’s disease: understanding the role of rotenone, maneb and paraquat in neurodegeneration. Cell Tissue Res 2004; 318(1): 225-41.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00441-004-0937-z] [PMID: 15258850]
]. It provides enormous data related to almost every aspect of neurodegenerative disorders for better understanding of molecular and genetic pathways involved in the progression as well as treatment of the disease [168Uversky VN. Neurotoxicant-induced animal models of Parkinson’s disease: understanding the role of rotenone, maneb and paraquat in neurodegeneration. Cell Tissue Res 2004; 318(1): 225-41.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00441-004-0937-z] [PMID: 15258850]
]. Researchers from University of Pennsyl- vania, with the help of a consortium of Penn investigators, have developed a novel Integrated Neurodegenerative Disease Database (INDD) for AD, PD, ALS and Fronto-temporal lobar degeneration [169Caudle WM, Guillot TS, Lazo CR, Miller GW. Industrial toxicants and Parkinson’s disease. Neurotoxicology 2012; 33(2): 178-88.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2012.01.010] [PMID: 22309908]
]. This database (Penn INDD) has the ability to query multiple database tables from a single console with a high degree of precision and reliability. It is also useful for comparative studies of various neurodegenerative diseases [169Caudle WM, Guillot TS, Lazo CR, Miller GW. Industrial toxicants and Parkinson’s disease. Neurotoxicology 2012; 33(2): 178-88.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2012.01.010] [PMID: 22309908]
]. Kandale et al. [170Gowthaman R, Gowthaman N, Rajangam MK, Srinivasan K. Database of neurodegenerative disorders. Bioinformation 2007; 2(4): 153-4.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.6026/97320630002153] [PMID: 21670793]
] have included 18 diseases in Integrated Database of Neurodegenerative Diseases (IDND). They have prepared IDND by using three separate databases i.e. UniProt kB (protein information), kEGG (Pathway), PubMed (disease articles).

PD Gene is another dedicated online resource that comprehensively collects and meta-analyzes all published studies in the related field [171Xie SX, Baek Y, Grossman M, et al. Building an integrated neurodegenerative disease database at an academic health center. Alzheimers Dement 2011; 7(4): e84-93.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2010.08.233] [PMID: 21784346]
]. This database help researchers to decipher the genetic architecture underlying PD susce- ptibility. With the help of this database ITGA8 was identified as a novel potential PD risk locus [171Xie SX, Baek Y, Grossman M, et al. Building an integrated neurodegenerative disease database at an academic health center. Alzheimers Dement 2011; 7(4): e84-93.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2010.08.233] [PMID: 21784346]
].

Alz Data is related to the most prevalent and rapidly increasing neurodegenerative disorder i.e., Alzheimer’s disease. This database includes: (i) High throughput omic data e.g. Genomics (GWAS and Whole Exome Sequencing), Transcriptomes, Proteomics and Functional genomics; (ii) High Confident functional data, e.g. neuroimaging screening, population base longitudinal studies and transgenic mouse phenotyping [172Kandale VV, Mujawar SN, Welasly PJ, et al. Development of integrated database of neurodegenerative diseases (IDND). Rev Res 2013; 2(9): 1-5.].

Schizophrenia is one of the common psychiatric disorders having heritability of about 80% [173Lill CM, Roehr JT, McQueen MB, et al. Comprehensive research synopsis and systematic meta-analyses in Parkinson’s disease genetics: The PDGene database. PLoS Genet 2012; 8(3)e1002548
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002548] [PMID: 22438815]
]. The genetic and molecular studies carried out on Schizophrenia have been deposited in database i.e. SZDB. Recently, a new version of a comprehensive database for Schizophrenic research has been launched i.e. SZDB 2.0 (www.szdb.org) [174Zhang DF, Fan Y, Xu M, et al. Complement C7 is a novel risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease in Han Chinese. Natl Sci Rev 2019; 6(2): 257-74.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwy127] [PMID: 31032141]
]. The new version includes Genomes Wide Association Study (GWAS), polygenic risk score calculator, genetic and gene expression studies, copy number variations, gene expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTL), transcript QTL, methylation QTL and protein-protein interaction data [174Zhang DF, Fan Y, Xu M, et al. Complement C7 is a novel risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease in Han Chinese. Natl Sci Rev 2019; 6(2): 257-74.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwy127] [PMID: 31032141]
]. This database will definetly provide a good platform for the enhancement of the Schizophrenia research.

BD gene is another database that was designed to address the genetic complexities of Bipolar Disorder (BD) and its overlapping with Schizophrenia as well as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) [173Lill CM, Roehr JT, McQueen MB, et al. Comprehensive research synopsis and systematic meta-analyses in Parkinson’s disease genetics: The PDGene database. PLoS Genet 2012; 8(3)e1002548
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002548] [PMID: 22438815]
]. It is freely available for the researchers. It provides not only a detailed review of research but also provides details for high confidence candidate genes and pathways for better understanding the pathology of the disease [173Lill CM, Roehr JT, McQueen MB, et al. Comprehensive research synopsis and systematic meta-analyses in Parkinson’s disease genetics: The PDGene database. PLoS Genet 2012; 8(3)e1002548
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002548] [PMID: 22438815]
].

7. MODELS TO STUDY BRAIN DISORDERS

A number of animal model such as Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster (fruitfly), Musca domestica (house fly), Danio rerio (zebra fish), pig and monkeys are used for understanding molecular pathways involved in various categories of brain disorders/diseases [175Chang SH, Gao L, Li Z, Zhang WN, Du Y, Wang J. BDgene: A genetic database for bipolar disorder and its overlap with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Biol Psychiatry 2013; 74(10): 727-33.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.04.016] [PMID: 23764453]
]. Cell lines are also used to explore the molecular pathways involved in the progression of brain diseases/disorders. Recent studies have revealed a great similarity between monkey and human brain (both in structure as well as in organization). It is expected that it will help a lot in understanding human brain diseases/disorders [176Wu Y, Li X, Liu J, Luo XJ, Yao YG. SZDB2.0: An updated comprehensive resource for schizophrenia research. Hum Genet 2020.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-020-02171-1] [PMID: 32385526]
]. However, the selection of the model depends on the nature of the biological questions to be answered [176Wu Y, Li X, Liu J, Luo XJ, Yao YG. SZDB2.0: An updated comprehensive resource for schizophrenia research. Hum Genet 2020.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-020-02171-1] [PMID: 32385526]
]. C. elegans has been used as a model organism for studying various aspects of neurodegenerative diseases like PD [177Jennings CG, Landman R, Zhou Y, et al. Opportunities and challenges in modeling human brain disorders in transgenic primates. Nat Neurosci 2016; 19(9): 1123-30.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.4362] [PMID: 27571191]
], AD [178Buffalo EA, Movshon JA, Wurtz RH. From basic brain research to treating human brain disorders. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2019; 116(52): 26167-72.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919895116] [PMID: 31871205]
], and HD [179Harrington AJ, Hamamichi S, Caldwell GA, et al. C. elegans as a model organism to investigate molecular pathways involved with Parkinson's disease. Dev Dyn 2010; 239(5): 1282-95.], due to the conserved counterparts in C. elegans. The improved transgenic technology has led Drosophila as a model for number of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD, taupathies, PD, amyotrophic sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia and various polyglutamine diseases [180Alexander AG, Marfil V, Li C. Use of Caenorhabditis elegans as a model to study Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Front Genet 2014; 5: 279.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2014.00279] [PMID: 25250042]
-182Cauchi RJ, van den Heuvel M. The fly as a model for neurodegenerative diseases: Is it worth the jump? Neurodegener Dis 2006; 3(6): 338-56.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000097303] [PMID: 17192723]
]. Zebra fish genes and their human homologues have conserved functions with respect to the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases including PD, HD and AD [183Sang TK, Jackson GR. Drosophila models of neurodegenerative disease. NeuroRx 2005; 2(3): 438-46.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1602/neurorx.2.3.438] [PMID: 16389307]
]. The larvae of Zebrafish display neuro-pathological and behavioral phenotypes that are quantifiable and comparable to humans [184Bilen J, Bonini NM. Drosophila as a model for human neurodegenerative disease. Annu Rev Genet 2005; 39: 153-71.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.genet.39.110304.095804] [PMID: 16285856]
]. By using genetic manipulation techniques, transgenic mice and rats have been developed to understand the pathophysiology of autism, Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and other neuropsychiatric disorders [185Xi Y, Noble S, Ekker M. Modeling neurodegeneration in zebrafish. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2011; 11(3): 274-82.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11910-011-0182-2] [PMID: 21271309]
-187Leung C, Jia Z. Mouse genetic models of human brain disorders. Front Gene 2016; 7(40)
[http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2016.00040]
]. The cerebral cortex of pig, unlike that of mice or rat, has cerebral convolution (gyri and sulci) similar to human neo-cortex and thus is expected to yield high translational value [188Tayebati SK, Tomassoni D, Amenta F. Spontaneously hypertensive rat as a model of vascular brain disorder: Microanatomy, neurochemistry and behavior. J Neurol Sci 2012; 322(1-2): 241-9.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2012.05.047] [PMID: 22726353]
]. The use of pig in neuroscience for the modeling of human brain disorders has been extensively reviewed by Lind et al. [189Lo Bianco C, Ridet JL, Schneider BL, Deglon N, Aebischer P. α -Synucleinopathy and selective dopaminergic neuron loss in a rat lentiviral-based model of Parkinson’s disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002; 99(16): 10813-8.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.152339799] [PMID: 12122208]
]. Pigs are more similar to humans than mice in anatomy, physiology and genome, hence genetically modified pigs are also being used to study various neurological disorders [190Gieling ET, Schuurman T, Nordquist RE, et al. The pig as a model animal for studying cognition and neurobehavioral disorders.Mol Func Mod Neuropsych 2011; 359-83.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/7854_2010_112] [PMID: 21287323]
]. Neurological disorders have also been studied in transgenic monkeys [191Lind NM, Moustgaard A, Jelsing J, Vajta G, Cumming P, Hansen AK. The use of pigs in neuroscience: Modeling brain disorders. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2007; 31(5): 728-51.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.02.003] [PMID: 17445892]
]. Due to the highest similarity with humans, monkeys are preferred for understanding the pathways involved in the progression of PD [191Lind NM, Moustgaard A, Jelsing J, Vajta G, Cumming P, Hansen AK. The use of pigs in neuroscience: Modeling brain disorders. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2007; 31(5): 728-51.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.02.003] [PMID: 17445892]
], microcephaly [192Fan N, Lai L. Genetically modified pig models for human diseases. J Genet Genomics 2013; 40(2): 67-73.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jgg.2012.07.014] [PMID: 23439405]
], AD [193Cai DC, Wang Z, Bo T, et al. MECP2 duplication causes aberrant GABA pathways, circuits and behaviors in transgenic monkeys: Neural mappings to patients with autism. J Neurosci 2020; 40(19): 3799-814.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2727-19.2020] [PMID: 32269107]
], and sleep disorders [194Li X, Yang W, Li X, et al. Alpha-synuclein oligomerization and dopaminergic degeneration occur synchronously in the brain and colon of MPTP-intoxicated parkinsonian monkeys. Neurosci Lett 2020; 716: 134640.].

The brain neurons lack the potential of regeneration; hence, the aging degeneration leads to severe consequences of brain dysfunctions. The neurodegenerative diseases/disorders are characterized by slow progression at an early stage. These diseases affect elderly persons especially in developed countries where the life expectancy is high [195Ke Q, Li W, Lai X, et al. TALEN-based generation of a cynomolgus monkey disease model for human microcephaly. Cell Res 2016; 26(9): 1048-61.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/cr.2016.93] [PMID: 27502025]
]. These diseases include Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy (PSP), Multi-System Atrophy (MSA), Alzheimer's Disease (AD), Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD), and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). PD is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that causes slowness of movement and rigidity in the body. It is characterized by neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and the other brain regions. It is associated with the formation of intracellular protein inclusions known as Lewy bodies (LBs) in the neurons [196Elfenbein HA, Rosen RF, Stephens SL, et al. Cerebral ß-amyloid angiopathy in aged squirrel monkeys 2007.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.14670/HH-22.155] [PMID: 17149688]
, 197Barraud Q, Lambrecq V, Forni C, et al. Sleep disorders in Parkinson’s disease: The contribution of the MPTP non-human primate model. Exp Neurol 2009; 219(2): 574-82.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2009.07.019] [PMID: 19635479]
].

Nanotechnology has provided a platform for the transfer of drugs across the BBB. Researchers are trying to build liposomes, loaded with nanoparticles to gain access through the BBB [198Berg D. Biomarkers for the early detection of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurodegener Dis 2008; 5(3-4): 133-6.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000113682] [PMID: 18322370]
, 199Shulman JM, De Jager PL. Evidence for a common pathway linking neurodegenerative diseases. Nat Genet 2009; 41(12): 1261-2.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng1209-1261] [PMID: 19935760]
]. More research is required to determine effective strategies for the improvement of patients with brain disorders. Delivering drugs across the BBB is one of the most promising application of nanotechnology in the field of clinical neuroscience. Nanoparticles may potentially carry out multiple tasks in a pre-defined sequence, which may be important for the delivery of drugs across the BBB [200Kauwe JS, Cruchaga C, Mayo K, et al. Variation in MAPT is associated with cerebrospinal fluid tau levels in the presence of amyloid-beta deposition. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2008; 105(23): 8050-4.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801227105] [PMID: 18541914]
-204Kreuter J. Drug delivery to the central nervous system by polymeric nanoparticles: What do we know? Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2014; 71: 2-14.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addr.2013.08.008] [PMID: 23981489]
].

CONCLUSION

Due to the involvement of non-genetic factors in the progression of human brain disorders, the research has been focused more on the study of epigenetic factors. In this context the data available from the GWAS and the databases developed for neurodegenerative diseases have proven a great boon in the area. Although there are several models to study the neurodegenerative disease but still there is a need for other specialized techniques, especially for neuropsychiatric disorders due to the overlapping of symptoms. BD gene has attempted not only to address the genetic complexities of bipolar disorders but also overlapping symptoms of both schizophrenia and Major Depressive Disorders (MDD).

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

Not applicable.

FUNDING

None.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Declared none.

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