Impaired antioxydative Keap1/Nrf2 system and the downstream stress protein responses in the motor neuron of ALS model mice

Takafumi Mimoto, Kazunori Miyazaki, Nobutoshi Morimoto, Tomoko Kurata, Kota Satoh, Yoshio Ikeda, Koji Abe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)/Nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) system is the major cellular defense mechanism under oxidative stress, but the role in motor neuron degeneration under amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathology has not yet been fully elucidated. Here we examined temporal and spatial changes of Keap1, Nrf2, and their downstream stress response proteins heme oxgenase-1 (HO-1), glutathione, thioredoxin (TRX), and heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) throughout the course of motor neuron (MN) degeneration in the spinal cord of ALS model mice. Keap1 protein levels progressively decreased in the MN and anterior lumbar cord of ALS mice to 63% at early symptomatic 14 weeks and 58% at end symptomatic 18 weeks, while Nrf2 dramatically increased in the anterior lumbar cord with accumulation in the MN nucleus to 229% at 14 weeks and 471% at 18 weeks when glial like cells became also positive. In contrast, downstream stress response proteins such as HO-1, glutathione, TRX, and HSP70 showed only a small increase in MN with a significant increase to 149% to 280% in the number of glial-like cells after symptomatic 14 weeks. Our present observation suggests that MN selectively lost inductions of these important downstream protective proteins without regard to the Keap1/Nrf2 system activation, which could be a pivotal mechanism of neurodegenerative processes of ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 29 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ALS
  • Antioxidant protein
  • Keap1
  • Nrf2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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