Sources and Targets of Reactive Oxygen Species in Synaptic Plasticity and Memory


Increasing evidence suggests that reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide, act as necessary signaling molecules in processes underlying cognition. Moreover, ROS have been shown to be necessary in molecular process underlying signal transduction, synaptic plasticity, and memory formation. Research from several laboratories suggests that NADPH oxidase is an important source of superoxide in the brain. Evidence is presented here to show that ROS are in fact important signaling molecules involved in synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Moreover, evidence that the NADPH oxidase complex is a key regulator of ROS generation in synaptic plasticity and memory formation is discussed. Understanding redox signaling in the brain, including the sources and molecular targets of ROS, are important for a full understanding of the signaling pathways that underlie synaptic plasticity and memory. Knowledge of ROS function in the brain also is critical for understanding aging and neurodegenerative diseases of the brain given that several of these disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson disease, may be exacerbated by the unregulated generation of ROS.

Antioxidants & Redox Signaling