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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Jun 10;20(17):2815-37. doi: 10.1089/ars.2013.5703. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

New insights on NOX enzymes in the central nervous system.

Author information

1
1 Department of Pathology and Immunology, Geneva Medical Faculty, Geneva University Hospitals, Centre Médical Universitaire , Geneva, Switzerland .

Abstract

SIGNIFICANCE:

There is increasing evidence that the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the central nervous system (CNS) involves the NOX family of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidases. Controlled ROS generation appears necessary for optimal functioning of the CNS through fine-tuning of redox-sensitive signaling pathways, while overshooting ROS generation will lead to oxidative stress and CNS disease.

RECENT ADVANCES:

NOX enzymes are not only restricted to microglia (i.e. brain phagocytes) but also expressed in neurons, astrocytes, and the neurovascular system. NOX enzymes are involved in CNS development, neural stem cell biology, and the function of mature neurons. While NOX2 appears to be a major source of pathological oxidative stress in the CNS, other NOX isoforms might also be of importance, for example, NOX4 in stroke. Globally speaking, there is now convincing evidence for a role of NOX enzymes in various neurodegenerative diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and psychosis-related disorders.

CRITICAL ISSUES:

The relative importance of specific ROS sources (e.g., NOX enzymes vs. mitochondria; NOX2 vs. NOX4) in different pathological processes needs further investigation. The absence of specific inhibitors limits the possibility to investigate specific therapeutic strategies. The uncritical use of non-specific inhibitors (e.g., apocynin, diphenylene iodonium) and poorly validated antibodies may lead to misleading conclusions.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS:

Physiological and pathophysiological studies with cell-type-specific knock-out mice will be necessary to delineate the precise functions of NOX enzymes and their implications in pathomechanisms. The development of CNS-permeant, specific NOX inhibitors will be necessary to advance toward therapeutic applications.

PMID:
24206089
PMCID:
PMC4026375
DOI:
10.1089/ars.2013.5703
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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