Role of Nrf2 and its activators in respiratory diseases

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Transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a major regulator of antioxidant response element- (ARE-) driven cytoprotective protein expression. The activation of Nrf2 signaling plays an essential role in preventing cells and tissues from injury induced by oxidative stress. Under the unstressed conditions, natural inhibitor of Nrf2, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), traps Nrf2 in the cytoplasm and promotes the degradation of Nrf2 by the 26S proteasome. Nevertheless, stresses including highly oxidative microenvironments, impair the ability of Keap1 to target Nrf2 for ubiquitination and degradation, and induce newly synthesized Nrf2 to translocate to the nucleus to bind with ARE. Due to constant exposure to external environments, including diverse pollutants and other oxidants, the redox balance maintained by Nrf2 is fairly important to the airways. To date, researchers have discovered that Nrf2 deletion results in high susceptibility and severity of insults in various models of respiratory diseases, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), respiratory infections, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and lung cancer. Conversely, Nrf2 activation confers protective effects on these lung disorders. In the present review, we summarize Nrf2 involvement in the pathogenesis of the above respiratory diseases that have been identified by experimental models and human studies and describe the protective effects of Nrf2 inducers on these diseases.




Liu, Q., Gao, Y., & Ci, X. (2019). Role of Nrf2 and its activators in respiratory diseases. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Hindawi Limited.

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