Antonio Cuadrado, Paz Moreno-Murciano & José Pedraza-Chaverri
In recent years, it has been accepted that oxidative stress is critically involved in the etiopathology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and as a result new therapeutic targets for reduction of oxidant injury and neuroprotection can be defined. Here we discuss the potential use of the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), as a pharmacological target for neuroprotective therapy in PD. Data generated by various groups indicate that Nrf2 induces the expression of a group of cytoprotective, antixenobiotic and antioxidant enzymes that include heme oxygenase-1, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase and enzymes of glutathione (GSH) metabolism such as γ-glutamyl cysteine ligase, GSH transferases and so on. Two strategies are known to increase Nrf2 transcriptional activity in PD: i) use of certain catechol-derived quinones for selective inhibition of the Nrf2 repressor Kelch-like ECH-associated protein to increase of Nrf2 protein levels; and ii) use of glycogen synthase kinase 3β inhibitors to maintain high protein and activity levels of Nrf2 in the nucleus. This review provides a rationale for drug design of appropriate molecules that might endorse a neuroprotective strategy to PD on the basis of attenuation of oxidative stress.