Roles for NF-κB in nerve cell survival, plasticity, and disease

M. P. Mattson, M. K. Meffert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

436 Scopus citations


Here we review evidence of roles for NF-κB in the regulation of developmental and synaptic plasticity, and cell survival in physiological and pathological settings. Signaling pathways modulating NF-κB activity include those engaged by neurotrophic factors, neurotransmitters, electrical activity, cytokines, and oxidative stress. Emerging findings support a pivotal role for NF-κB as a mediator of transcription-dependent enduring changes in the structure and function of neuronal circuits. Distinct subunits of NF-κB may uniquely affect cognition and behavior by regulating specific target genes. NF-κB activation can prevent the death of neurons by inducing the production of antiapoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2, IAPs and manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD). Recent findings indicate that NF-κB plays important roles in disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as oncogenesis. Molecular pathways upstream and downstream of NF-κB in neurons are being elucidated and may provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention in various neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-860
Number of pages9
JournalCell death and differentiation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Alzheimer
  • Apoptosis
  • Hippocampus
  • Learning and memory
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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