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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1780(11):1362-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2008.02.005. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Redox imbalance in Parkinson's disease.

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Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, California 94945, USA.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder characterized by preferential loss of dopaminergic neurons in an area of the midbrain called the substantia nigra (SN) along with occurrence of intraneuronal inclusions called Lewy bodies. The majority of cases of PD are sporadic in nature with late onset (95% of patients); however a few PD cases (5%) are seen in familial clusters with generally earlier onset. Although PD has been heavily researched, so far the exact cause of the rather selective cell death is unknown. Multiple lines of evidence suggest an important role for oxidative stress. Dopaminergic neurons (DA) are particularly prone to oxidative stress due to DA metabolism and auto-oxidation combined with increased iron, decreased total glutathione levels and mitochondrial complex I inhibition-induced ROS production in the SN which can lead to cell death by exceeding the oxidative capacity of DA-containing cells in the region. Enhancing antioxidant capabilities and chelating labile iron pools in this region therefore constitutes a rational approach to prevent or slow ongoing damage of DA neurons. In this review, we summarize the various sources of reactive oxygen species that may cause redox imbalance in PD as well as potential therapeutic targets for attenuation of oxidative stress associated with PD.

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