As acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors are an important therapeutic strategy in Alzheimer’s disease, efforts
are being made in search of new molecules with anti-AChE activity. The fact that naturally-occurring compounds from
plants are considered to be a potential source of new inhibitors has led to the discovery of an important number of
secondary metabolites and plant extracts with the ability of inhibiting the enzyme AChE, which, according to the
cholinergic hypothesis, increases the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, thus improving cholinergic
functions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and alleviating the symptoms of this neurological disorder. This review
summarizes a total of 128 studies which correspond to the most relevant research work published during 2006-2012
(1st semester) on plant-derived compounds, plant extracts and essential oils found to elicit AChE inhibition.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s Disease, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, secondary metabolites, plant extracts, essential oils.
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