Nrf2, the Master Regulator of Anti-Oxidative Responses

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 20;18(12):2772. doi: 10.3390/ijms18122772.


Tight regulation of inflammation is very important to guarantee a balanced immune response without developing chronic inflammation. One of the major mediators of the resolution of inflammation is the transcription factor: the nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2 (Nrf2). Stabilized following oxidative stress, Nrf2 induces the expression of antioxidants as well as cytoprotective genes, which provoke an anti-inflammatory expression profile, and is crucial for the initiation of healing. In view of this fundamental modulatory role, it is clear that both hyper- or hypoactivation of Nrf2 contribute to the onset of chronic diseases. Understanding the tight regulation of Nrf2 expression/activation and its interaction with signaling pathways, known to affect inflammatory processes, will facilitate development of therapeutic approaches to prevent Nrf2 dysregulation and ameliorate chronic inflammatory diseases. We discuss in this review the principle mechanisms of Nrf2 regulation with a focus on inflammation and autophagy, extending the role of dysregulated Nrf2 to chronic diseases and tumor development.

Keywords: Nrf2; antioxidants; electrophiles; reactive oxygen species; transcription factor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Autophagy
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / chemistry
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress*


  • Antioxidants
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2