Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive deterioration of neuronal function in the central or peripheral nervous system and ultimately the death of nerve cells. There is a big evidence that oxidative stress is an essential mediator implicated in neurodegenerative processes and may be a key event triggering various forms of cell death. Here, we review the hypothesis that neuronal loss resulted from oxidative stress may be initiated by a drastic decrease in the antioxidant molecule glutathione (GSH). The impairment of physiological glutathione\'s levels and the alterations in the activities of its related enzymes in neuronal cells are increasingly suggested to be implicated in the initiation and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. GSH plays a vital role in cellular redox homeostasis in the nervous system and protects neurons against a variety of oxidative insults. GSH depletion can enhance oxidative stress and may increase protein aggregation leading to initiate cell death in distinct neuronal populations. Evidence demonstrates a grand impact of oxidative stress and loss neuronal GSH in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Part of the book: Glutathione System and Oxidative Stress in Health and Disease