Oxidative stress and blood-brain barrier dysfunction under particular consideration of matrix metalloproteinases

Christine Lehner, Renate Gehwolf, Herbert Tempfer, Istvan Krizbai, Bernhard Hennig, Hans-Christian Bauer, Hannelore Bauer
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling 2011 September 1, 15 (5): 1305-23
A cell's "redox" (oxidation and reduction) state is determined by the sum of all redox processes yielding reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species (RNS), and other reactive intermediates. Low amounts of ROS/RNS are generated by different mechanisms in every cell and are important regulatory mediators in many signaling processes (redox signaling). When the physiological balance between the generation and elimination of ROS/RNS is disrupted, oxidative/nitrosative stress with persistent oxidative damage of the organism occurs. Oxidative stress has been suggested to act as initiator and/or mediator of many human diseases. The cerebral vasculature is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress, which is critical since cerebral endothelial cells play a major role in the creation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This article will only contain a focused introduction on the biochemical background of redox signaling, since this has been reported already in a series of excellent recent reviews. The goal of this work is to increase the understanding of basic mechanisms underlying ROS/RNS-induced BBB disruption, with a focus on the role of matrix metalloproteinases, which, after all, appear to be a key mediator in the initiation and progression of BBB damage elicited by oxidative stress.

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