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Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 May 2;2019:6218239. doi: 10.1155/2019/6218239. eCollection 2019.

Neuroprotective Role of the Nrf2 Pathway in Subarachnoid Haemorrhage and Its Therapeutic Potential.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Wessex Neurological Centre, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK.
Clinical Neurosciences, Clinical & Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK.


The mechanisms underlying poor outcome following subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) are complex and multifactorial. They include early brain injury, spreading depolarisation, inflammation, oxidative stress, macroscopic cerebral vasospasm, and microcirculatory disturbances. Nrf2 is a global promoter of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory response and has potential protective effects against all of these mechanisms. It has been shown to be upregulated after SAH, and Nrf2 knockout animals have poorer functional and behavioural outcomes after SAH. There are many agents known to activate the Nrf2 pathway. Of these, the actions of sulforaphane, curcumin, astaxanthin, lycopene, tert-butylhydroquinone, dimethyl fumarate, melatonin, and erythropoietin have been studied in SAH models. This review details the different mechanisms of injury after SAH including the contribution of haemoglobin (Hb) and its breakdown products. It then summarises the evidence that the Nrf2 pathway is active and protective after SAH and finally examines the evidence supporting Nrf2 upregulation as a therapy after SAH.

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