Role of Nrf2 in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis

Free Radic Biol Med. 2015 Nov;88(Pt B):221-232. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2015.06.019. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the vascular arterial walls. A number of studies have revealed the biological and genetic bases of atherosclerosis, and over 100 genes influence atherosclerosis development. Nrf2 plays an important role in oxidative stress response and drug metabolism, but the Nrf2 signaling pathway is closely associated with atherosclerosis development. During atherosclerosis progression, Nrf2 signaling modulates many physiological and pathophysiological processes, such as lipid homeostasis regulation, foam cell formation, macrophage polarization, redox regulation and inflammation. Interestingly, Nrf2 exhibits both pro- and anti-atherogenic effects in experimental animal models. These observations make the Nrf2 pathway a promising target to prevent atherosclerosis.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; CD36; Endothelial cell; Inflammation; Lipid metabolism; Macrophage; Nrf2; Oxidative stress; Oxidized LDL; Smooth muscle cell.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2