Roles of lipid peroxidation in modulation of cellular signaling pathways, cell dysfunction, and death in the nervous system

Jeffery N. Keller, Mark P. Mattson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Free radicals are known to occur as natural by-products under physiological conditions and have been implicated in the neuronal loss observed in a variety of neuropathological conditions including Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease (PD), and ischemia. Oxyradical-induced cytotoxicity arises from both chronic and acute increases in reactive oxygen species which give rise to subsequent lipid peroxidation (LP). By reacting with polyunsaturated fatty acids in the the various cellular membranes, oxyradicals such as hydroxyl (OH) and peroxynitrite (ONOO) give rise to a variety of lipid peroxidation products (LPP), including 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) and malondialdehyde (MD). Once formed, these peroxidation metabolites have been demonstrated to have relatively long half-lives within cells (minutes to hours), allowing for multiple interactions with cellular components. Emerging data suggest that LP and LPP may underlie the neuronal alterations and neurotoxicity observed in numerous neurodegenerative conditions. Data supporting this involvement include the detection of LP and formation of LPP in a variety of neuropathological conditions including AD, ALS, PD, and ischemia. Secondly, direct application of LPP, either in vivo or in vitro, has been shown to be cytotoxic and mimic neuronal alterations observed in neuropathological conditions. Furthermore, prevention of LP and subsequent LPP formation have been demonstrated to be neuroprotective in a variety of neurodegenerative paradigms. Additionally, LP and LPP have been implicated in the modulation of a wide array of activities within the central nervous system including long term potentiation, neurite outgrowth, and proliferation. Understanding the mechanism(s) and involvement of LP in these processes will greatly enhance the understanding of oxyradical and ion homeostasis in neurophysiological and neuropathological conditions. The focus of this review is to describe the process by which lipid peroxidation occurs and establish a framework for its involvement in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • D-hydroxynonenal
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Neuron
  • Oxyradicals
  • Transporters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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