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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2006 Jan-Feb;8(1-2):76-87.

Nrf2 defends the lung from oxidative stress.

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Laboratory of Respiratory Biology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Nuclear factor, erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) belongs to the Cap'n'collar/basic region leucine zipper (CNC-bZIP) transcription factor family, and is activated by diverse oxidants, pro-oxidants, antioxidants, and chemopreventive agents. After phosphorylation and dissociation from the cytoplasmic inhibitor, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), Nrf2 translocates to the nucleus and binds to an antioxidant response element (ARE). Through transcriptional induction of ARE-bearing genes that encode antioxidant-detoxifying proteins, Nrf2 activates cellular rescue pathways against oxidative injury, inflammation/immunity, apoptosis, and carcinogenesis. ARE-driven genes include direct antioxidants (e.g., GPx), thiol metabolism-associated detoxifying enzymes (e.g., GSTs), stress-response genes (e.g., HO-1), and others (e.g., PSMB5). Application of nrf2 germ-line mutant mice elucidated protective roles for Nrf2 in various models of human disorders in the liver, lung, kidney, brain, and circulation. In the lung, deficiency of nrf2 augmented injury caused by bleomycin and environmental oxidants including hyperoxia, diesel exhaust particles, and cigarette smoke. Microarray analyses of lungs from nrf2-deficient and -sufficient mice identified Nrf2-dependent genes that might be critical in pulmonary protection. Observations from these studies highlight the importance of the Nrf2-antioxidant pathway and may provide new therapeutic strategies for acute respiratory distress syndrome, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, and emphysema in which oxidative stress is implicated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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