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      Pharmacological Protection against Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury by Regulating the Nrf2-Keap1-ARE Signaling Pathway


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          Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is associated with substantial clinical implications, including a wide range of organs such as the brain, kidneys, lungs, heart, and many others. I/R injury (IRI) occurs due to the tissue injury following the reestablishment of blood supply to ischemic tissues, leading to enhanced aseptic inflammation and stimulation of oxidative stress via reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS). Since ROS causes membrane lipids’ peroxidation, triggers loss of membrane integrity, denaturation of proteins, DNA damage, and cell death, oxidative stress plays a critical part in I/R pathogenesis. Therefore, ROS regulation could be a promising therapeutic strategy for IRI. In this context, Nrf2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of several factors involved in the cellular defense against oxidative stress and inflammation, including heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Numerous studies have shown the potential role of the Nrf2/HO-1 pathway in IRI; thus, we will review the molecular aspects of Nrf2/Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)/antioxidant response element (ARE) signaling pathway in I/R, and we will also highlight the recent insights into targeting this pathway as a promising therapeutic strategy for preventing IRI.

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          Molecular mechanisms of the Keap1–Nrf2 pathway in stress response and cancer evolution.

          The Keap1–Nrf2 regulatory pathway plays a central role in the protection of cells against oxidative and xenobiotic damage. Under unstressed conditions, Nrf2 is constantly ubiquitinated by the Cul3–Keap1 ubiquitin E3 ligase complex and rapidly degraded in proteasomes. Upon exposure to electrophilic and oxidative stresses, reactive cysteine residues of Keap1 become modified, leading to a decline in the E3 ligase activity, stabilization of Nrf2 and robust induction of a battery of cytoprotective genes. Biochemical and structural analyses have revealed that the intact Keap1 homodimer forms a cherry-bob structure in which one molecule of Nrf2 associates with two molecules of Keap1 by using two binding sites within the Neh2 domain of Nrf2. This two-site binding appears critical for Nrf2 ubiquitination. In many human cancers, missense mutations in KEAP1 and NRF2 genes have been identified. These mutations disrupt the Keap1–Nrf2 complex activity involved in ubiquitination and degradation of Nrf2 and result in constitutive activation of Nrf2. Elevated expression of Nrf2 target genes confers advantages in terms of stress resistance and cell proliferation in normal and cancer cells. Discovery and development of selective Nrf2 inhibitors should make a critical contribution to improved cancer therapy.
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            Myocardial reperfusion injury.

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              Current Mechanistic Concepts in Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury.

              Ischemia-reperfusion injury is associated with serious clinical manifestations, including myocardial hibernation, acute heart failure, cerebral dysfunction, gastrointestinal dysfunction, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Ischemia-reperfusion injury is a critical medical condition that poses an important therapeutic challenge for physicians. In this review article, we present recent advances focusing on the basic pathophysiology of ischemia-reperfusion injury, especially the involvement of reactive oxygen species and cell death pathways. The involvement of the NADPH oxidase system, nitric oxide synthase system, and xanthine oxidase system are also described. When the blood supply is re-established after prolonged ischemia, local inflammation and ROS production increase, leading to secondary injury. Cell damage induced by prolonged ischemia-reperfusion injury may lead to apoptosis, autophagy, necrosis, and necroptosis. We highlight the latest mechanistic insights into reperfusion-injury-induced cell death via these different processes. The interlinked signaling pathways of cell death could offer new targets for therapeutic approaches. Treatment approaches for ischemia-reperfusion injury are also reviewed. We believe that understanding the pathophysiology ischemia-reperfusion injury will enable the development of novel treatment interventions.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                Antioxidants (Basel)
                Antioxidants (Basel)
                21 May 2021
                June 2021
                : 10
                : 6
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Hacettepe University, 06100 Ankara, Turkey
                [2 ]Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Hacettepe University, 06100 Ankara, Turkey; gulberk@ 123456hacettepe.edu.tr
                [3 ]Department of Cardiovascular, Endocrine-Metabolic Diseases, and Aging, Italian National Institute of Health, 00161 Rome, Italy; sarmistha_pharmacol@ 123456yahoo.com (S.S.); brigitta.buttari@ 123456iss.it (B.B.); elisabetta.profumo@ 123456iss.it (E.P.)
                [4 ]Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “Vittorio Erspamer” Sapienza University, 00161 Rome, Italy; luciano.saso@ 123456uniroma1.it
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: bercis.imge@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



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