Glutathione and related molecules in parkinsonism

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Glutathione (GSH) is the most abundant intrinsic antioxidant in the central nervous system, and its substrate cysteine readily becomes the oxidized dimeric cystine. Since neurons lack a cystine transport system, neuronal GSH synthesis depends on cystine uptake via the cystine/glutamate exchange transporter (xCT), GSH synthesis, and release in/from surrounding astrocytes. Transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a detoxifying master transcription factor, is expressed mainly in astrocytes and activates the gene expression of various phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes or antioxidants including GSH-related molecules and metallothionein by binding to the antioxidant response element (ARE) of these genes. Accumulating evidence has shown the involvement of dysfunction of antioxidative molecules including GSH and its related molecules in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) or parkinsonian models. Furthermore, we found several agents targeting GSH synthesis in the astrocytes that protect nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal loss in PD models. In this article, the neuroprotective effects of supplementation and enhancement of GSH and its related molecules in PD pathology are reviewed, along with introducing new experimental findings, especially targeting of the xCT-GSH synthetic system and Nrf2–ARE pathway in astrocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8689
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2021


  • Astrocyte
  • Glutathione
  • Mes-encephalon
  • Metallothionein
  • Neuroprotection
  • Nrf2
  • Oxidative stress
  • Parkinsonism
  • Region specificity
  • Serotonin 5-HT1A receptor
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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