Autophagy and Redox Homeostasis in Parkinson's: A Crucial Balancing Act

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 Nov 10;2020:8865611. doi: 10.1155/2020/8865611. eCollection 2020.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are generated primarily from endogenous biochemical reactions in mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and peroxisomes. Typically, ROS/RNS correlate with oxidative damage and cell death; however, free radicals are also crucial for normal cellular functions, including supporting neuronal homeostasis. ROS/RNS levels influence and are influenced by antioxidant systems, including the catabolic autophagy pathways. Autophagy is an intracellular lysosomal degradation process by which invasive, damaged, or redundant cytoplasmic components, including microorganisms and defunct organelles, are removed to maintain cellular homeostasis. This process is particularly important in neurons that are required to cope with prolonged and sustained operational stress. Consequently, autophagy is a primary line of protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Parkinson's is caused by the loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons (mDANs), resulting in progressive disruption of the nigrostriatal pathway, leading to motor, behavioural, and cognitive impairments. Mitochondrial dysfunction, with associated increases in oxidative stress, and declining proteostasis control, are key contributors during mDAN demise in Parkinson's. In this review, we analyse the crosstalk between autophagy and redoxtasis, including the molecular mechanisms involved and the detrimental effect of an imbalance in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy*
  • Cell Death
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Mesencephalon / metabolism*
  • Mesencephalon / physiology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species