Targeting Transcription Factor Nrf2 (Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2) for the Intervention of Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Dementia.Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2021 01; 41(1):97-116.AT
Vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) is an age-related, mild to severe mental disability due to a broad panel of cerebrovascular disorders. Its pathobiology involves neurovascular dysfunction, blood-brain barrier disruption, white matter damage, microRNAs, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and gut microbiota alterations, etc. Nrf2 (Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) is the master regulator of redox status and controls the transcription of a panel of antioxidative and anti-inflammatory genes. By interacting with NF-κB (nuclear factor-κB), Nrf2 also fine-tunes the cellular oxidative and inflammatory balance. Aging is associated with Nrf2 dysfunction, and increasing evidence has proved the role of Nrf2 in mitigating the VCID process. Based on VCID pathobiologies and Nrf2 studies from VCID and other brain diseases, we point out several hypothetical Nrf2 targets for VCID management, including restoration of endothelial function and neurovascular coupling, preservation of blood-brain barrier integrity, reduction of amyloidopathy, promoting white matter integrity, and mitigating oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. Collectively, the Nrf2 pathway could be a promising direction for future VCID research. Targeting Nrf2 would shed light on VCID managing strategies.