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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 324256, 9 pages
Review Article

Therapeutic Approach to Neurodegenerative Diseases by Medical Gases: Focusing on Redox Signaling and Related Antioxidant Enzymes

1Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
2Division of Neurofunctional Genomics, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
3Research Center for Nucleotide Pool, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan

Received 2 March 2012; Accepted 25 April 2012

Academic Editor: Guilherme Antonio Behr

Copyright © 2012 Kyota Fujita 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 in the central nervous system is strongly associated with neuronal cell death in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In order to overcome the oxidative damage, there are some protective signaling pathways related to transcriptional upregulation of antioxidant enzymes, such as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and superoxide dismutase (SOD)-1/-2. Their expression is regulated by several transcription factors and/or cofactors like nuclear factor-erythroid 2 (NF-E2) related factor 2 (Nrf2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α). These antioxidant enzymes are associated with, and in some cases, prevent neuronal death in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. They are activated by endogenous mediators and phytochemicals, and also by several gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), and hydrogen (H2). These might thereby protect the brain from severe oxidative damage and resultant neurodegenerative diseases. In this paper, we discuss how the expression levels of these antioxidant enzymes are regulated. We also introduce recent advances in the therapeutic uses of medical gases against neurodegenerative diseases.