Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 20
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825271

Antioxidants and hormones: Implications for neurodgenerative disorders and aging

C Behl 1
  • 1Institut für Physiologische Chemie und Pathobiochemie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Human neurodegenerative diseases frequently share common pathobiochemical pathways. One essential factor is the occurrence of oxidative stress and its destructive consequences. Oxidations are not only mere downstream reactions but can also play a fundamental role upstream in the disease process. Therefore, they can also even start the pathogenetic event. Such a causative key role is discussed for many age-associated pathophysiological changes, as summarized decades ago in the „Oxidative stress Hypothesis of Human Aging“ by Denis Harman. Consequently, antioxidative enzymes and compounds (antioxidants) can interrupt detrimental processes and represent potentiel neuroprotective pathways. One functional and molecular link between antioxidative activities and the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and age-associated diseases is the hormone homeostasis. For instance, on one hand the female sex hormone is a neuroprotective antioxidant and, on the other hand, is a signal that induces various neuroprotective programs. Recent data on the activity of antioxidants and hormones will be discussed.

Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Peter-Beate-Heller-Stiftung.