Neurobiology of disease

Redox regulation of autophagy in healthy brain and neurodegeneration.

PMID 25771170


Autophagy and redox biochemistry are two major sub disciplines of cell biology which are both coming to be appreciated for their paramount importance in the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thus far, however, there has been relatively little exploration of the interface between autophagy and redox biology. Autophagy normally recycles macro-molecular aggregates produced through oxidative-stress mediated pathways, and also may reduce the mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species through recycling of old and damaged mitochondria. Conversely, dysfunction in autophagy initiation, progression or clearance is evidenced to increase aggregation-prone proteins in neural and extraneural tissues. Redox mechanisms of autophagy regulation have been documented at the level of cross-talk between the Nrf2/Keap1 oxidant and electrophilic defense pathway and p62/sequestosome-1 (SQSTM1)-associated autophagy, at least in extraneural tissue; but other mechanisms of redox autophagy regulation doubtless remain to be discovered and the relevance of such processes to maintenance of neural homeostasis remains to be determined. This review summarizes current knowledge regarding the relationship of redox signaling, autophagy control, and oxidative stress as these phenomena relate to neurodegenerative disease. AD is specifically addressed as an example of the theme and as a promising indication for new therapies that act through engagement of autophagy pathways. To exemplify one such novel therapeutic entity, data is presented that the antioxidant and neurotrophic agent lanthionine ketimine-ethyl ester (LKE) affects autophagy pathway proteins including beclin-1 in the 3xTg-AD model of Alzheimer's disease where the compound has been shown to reduce pathological features and cognitive dysfunction.