NRF2 and NF-қB interplay in cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disorders: Molecular mechanisms and possible therapeutic approaches

Redox Biol. 2019 Feb;21:101059. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.11.017. Epub 2018 Nov 28.


Electrophiles and reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a major role in modulating cellular defense mechanisms as well as physiological functions, and intracellular signaling. However, excessive ROS generation (endogenous and exogenous) can create a state of redox imbalance leading to cellular and tissue damage (Ma and He, 2012) [1]. A growing body of research data strongly suggests that imbalanced ROS and electrophile overproduction are among the major prodromal factors in the onset and progression of several cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and aging (Ma and He, 2012; Ramsey et al., 2017; Salminen et al., 2012; Sandberg et al., 2014; Sarlette et al., 2008; Tanji et al., 2013) [1-6]. Cells offset oxidative stress by the action of housekeeping antioxidative enzymes (such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase) as well direct and indirect antioxidants (Dinkova-Kostova and Talalay, 2010) [7]. The DNA sequence responsible for modulating the antioxidative and cytoprotective responses of the cells has been identified as the antioxidant response element (ARE), while the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (NRF2) is the major regulator of the xenobiotic-activated receptor (XAR) responsible for activating the ARE-pathway, thus defined as the NRF2-ARE system (Ma and He, 2012) [1]. In addition, the interplay between the NRF2-ARE system and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-ĸB, a protein complex that controls cytokine production and cell survival), has been further investigated in relation to neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disorders. On these premises, we provide a review analysis of current understanding of the NRF2-NF-ĸB interplay, their specific role in major CNS disorders, and consequent therapeutic implication for the treatment of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases.

Keywords: Alternative; Antioxidative; Cerebrovascular; Cytoprotection Neurodegenerative; Inflammation; Nf-κB; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / metabolism*
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / agonists
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / etiology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NF-kappa B
  • Reactive Oxygen Species