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Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1999 Aug;30(2):153-63.

Neurodegenerative disorders: the role of peroxynitrite.

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CNRS UMR 9921 UFR Pharmacie, 15 av. Charles Flahault, 34060, Montpellier, France.


Inflammatory reaction is thought to be an important contributor to neuronal damage in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the parkinsonism dementia complex of Guam. Among the toxic agents released in brain tissues by activated cells, we focus attention in this review on peroxynitrite, the product of the reaction between nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide. Peroxynitrite is a strong oxidizing and nitrating agent which can react with all classes of biomolecules. In the CNS it can be generated by microglial cells activated by pro-inflammatory cytokines or beta-amyloid peptide (beta-A) and by neurons in three different situations: hyperactivity of glutamate neurotransmission, mitochondrial dysfunction and depletion of L-arginine or tetrahydrobiopterin. The first two situations correspond to cellular responses to an initial neuronal injury and the peroxynitrite formed only exacerbates the inflammatory process, whereas in the third situation the peroxynitrite generated directly contributes to the initiation of the neurodegenerative process.

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