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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2011, Article ID 405194, 12 pages
Review Article

Protective Action of Neurotrophic Factors and Estrogen against Oxidative Stress-Mediated Neurodegeneration

1Department of Mental Disorder Research, National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo 187-8502, Japan
2Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology Program (CREST), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Saitama 332-0012, Japan
3Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Division of Frontier Medical Science, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan
4Peptide-prima Co., Ltd., 1-25-81, Nuyamazu, Kumamoto 861-2102, Japan
5The Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY 12208, USA

Received 11 January 2011; Revised 28 February 2011; Accepted 29 March 2011

Academic Editor: Laurence D. Fechter

Copyright © 2011 Tadahiro Numakawa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. Low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are important for maintenance of neuronal function, though elevated levels lead to neuronal cell death. A complex series of events including excitotoxicity, Ca2+ overload, and mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to oxidative stress-mediated neurodegeneration. As expected, many antioxidants like phytochemicals and vitamins are known to reduce oxidative toxicity. Additionally, growing evidence indicates that neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and estrogens significantly prevent neuronal damage caused by oxidative stress. Here, we review and discuss recent studies addressing the protective mechanisms of neurotrophic factors and estrogen within this system.