Oxidative stress, redox signalling and endothelial dysfunction in ageing-related neurodegenerative diseases: a role of NADPH oxidase 2

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Sep;78(3):441-53. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12357.


Chronic oxidative stress and oxidative damage of the cerebral microvasculature and brain cells has become one of the most convincing theories in neurodegenerative pathology. Controlled oxidative metabolism and redox signalling in the central nervous system are crucial for maintaining brain function; however, excessive production of reactive oxygen species and enhanced redox signalling damage neurons. While several enzymes and metabolic processes can generate intracellular reactive oxygen species in the brain, recently an O2−-generating enzyme, NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2), has emerged as a major source of oxidative stress in ageing-related vascular endothelial dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. The currently available inhibitors of Nox2 are not specific, and general antioxidant therapy is not effective in the clinic; therefore, insights into the mechanism of Nox2 activation and its signalling pathways are needed for the discovery of novel drug targets to prevent or treat these neurodegenerative diseases. This review summarizes the recent developments in understanding the mechanisms of Nox2 activation and redox-sensitive signalling pathways and biomarkers involved in the pathophysiology of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, such as ageing-related mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • CYBB protein, human
  • NADPH Oxidase 2
  • NADPH Oxidases