Oxidative stress and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2013;2013:316523. doi: 10.1155/2013/316523. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease that causes dementia in the elderly. Patients with AD suffer a gradual deterioration of memory and other cognitive functions, which eventually leads to a complete incapacity and death. A complicated array of molecular events has been implicated in the pathogenesis of AD. The major pathological characteristics of AD brains are the presence of senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. Growing evidence has demonstrated that oxidative stress is an important factor contributing to the initiation and progression of AD. However, the mechanisms that lead to the disruption of redox balance and the sources of free radicals remain elusive. The excessive reactive oxygen species may be generated from mechanisms such as mitochondria dysfunction and/or aberrant accumulation of transition metals, while the abnormal accumulation of Abeta and tau proteins appears to promote the redox imbalance. The resulted oxidative stress has been implicated in Abeta- or tau-induced neurotoxicity. In addition, evidence has suggested that oxidative stress may augment the production and aggregation of Abeta and facilitate the phosphorylation and polymerization of tau, thus forming a vicious cycle that promotes the initiation and progression of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species