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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 316523, 10 pages
Review Article

Oxidative Stress and the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease

1Department of Bioengineering, Harbin Institute of Technology at Weihai, Weihai, Shandong 264209, China
2State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Received 25 May 2013; Accepted 3 July 2013

Academic Editor: Cláudio M. Gomes

Copyright © 2013 Yan Zhao and Baolu Zhao. 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.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease that causes dementia in the elderly. Patients with AD suffer a gradual deterioration of memory and other cognitive functions, which eventually leads to a complete incapacity and death. A complicated array of molecular events has been implicated in the pathogenesis of AD. The major pathological characteristics of AD brains are the presence of senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. Growing evidence has demonstrated that oxidative stress is an important factor contributing to the initiation and progression of AD. However, the mechanisms that lead to the disruption of redox balance and the sources of free radicals remain elusive. The excessive reactive oxygen species may be generated from mechanisms such as mitochondria dysfunction and/or aberrant accumulation of transition metals, while the abnormal accumulation of Abeta and tau proteins appears to promote the redox imbalance. The resulted oxidative stress has been implicated in Abeta- or tau-induced neurotoxicity. In addition, evidence has suggested that oxidative stress may augment the production and aggregation of Abeta and facilitate the phosphorylation and polymerization of tau, thus forming a vicious cycle that promotes the initiation and progression of AD.