Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 3, 205-214 (March 2004) | doi:10.1038/nrd1330

Neurodegenerative diseases and oxidative stress

Kevin J. Barnham1, Colin L. Masters1 & Ashley I. Bush1,2  About the authors


Oxidative stress has been implicated in the progression of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Oxygen is vital for life but is also potentially dangerous, and a complex system of checks and balances exists for utilizing this essential element. Oxidative stress is the result of an imbalance in pro-oxidant/antioxidant homeostasis that leads to the generation of toxic reactive oxygen species. The systems in place to cope with the biochemistry of oxygen are complex, and many questions about the mechanisms of oxygen regulation remain unanswered. However, this same complexity provides a number of therapeutic targets, and different strategies, including novel metal–protein attenuating compounds, aimed at a variety of targets have shown promise in clinical studies.

Author affiliations

  1. Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, and The Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, Victoria 3010, Australia.
  2. Laboratory for Oxidation Biology, Genetics and Aging Research Unit and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital East, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.

Correspondence to: Ashley I. Bush1,2 Email:


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