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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2003 Oct;5(5):571-6.

Oxidative stress and neuronal adaptation in Alzheimer disease: the role of SAPK pathways.

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Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Recent evidence indicates that oxidative stress occurs early in the progression of Alzheimer disease, significantly before the development of the hallmark pathologies, namely neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques. The interaction of abnormal mitochondria, redox transition metals, and oxidative stress response elements contributes to the generation of reactive oxygen species in diseased neurons. Oxidative damage to major cellular molecules is seen in a number of disease states that are either acute or chronic and it is apparent that without eliciting compensations that restore redox balance, cells will rapidly succumb to death. Indeed, although oxidative stress is a prominent feature in Alzheimer disease, few vulnerable neurons show clear signs of apoptosis, suggesting that the level of oxidative stress does not significantly exceed neuronal oxidative defenses. In light of this observation, we propose that neurons in Alzheimer disease are exposed to low, but chronic, levels of oxidative stress that lead neurons to elicit adaptive responses such as the activation of stress-activated protein kinase pathways.

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