Oxidative DNA damage is implicated in brain aging, neurodegeneration and neurological diseases. Damage can be created by normal cellular metabolism, which accumulates with age, or by acute cellular stress conditions which create bursts of oxidative damage. Brain cells have a particularly high basal level of metabolic activity and use distinct oxidative damage repair mechanisms to remove oxidative damage from DNA and dNTP pools. Accumulation of this damage in the background of a functional DNA repair response is associated with normal aging, but defective repair in brain cells can contribute to neurological dysfunction. Emerging research strongly associates three common neurodegenerative conditions, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and stroke, with defects in the ability to repair chronic or acute oxidative damage in neurons. This review explores the current knowledge of the role of oxidative damage repair in preserving brain function and highlights the emerging models and methods being used to advance our knowledge of the pathology of neurodegenerative disease.
Published by Elsevier B.V.