• antioxidant enzyme;
  • immunohistochemistry;
  • motor neuron;
  • hippocampus;
  • substantia nigra


Redox changes are observed in neurodegenerative diseases, ranging from increased levels of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species and disturbance of antioxidant systems, to nitro-oxidative damage. By reducing hydrogen peroxide, peroxynitrite, and organic hydroperoxides, peroxiredoxins (Prdxs) represent a major potential protective barrier against nitro-oxidative insults in the brain. While recent works have investigated the putative role of Prdxs in neurodegenerative disorders, less is known about their expression in the healthy brain. Here we used immunohistochemistry to map basal expression of Prdxs throughout C57BL/6 mouse brain. We first confirmed the neuronal localization of Prdx2–5 and the glial expression of Prdx1, Prdx4, and Prdx6. Then we performed an in-depth analysis of neuronal Prdx distribution in the brain. Our results show that Prdx2–5 are widely detected in the different neuronal populations, and especially well expressed in the olfactory bulb, in the cerebral cortex, in pons nuclei, in the red nucleus, in all cranial nerve nuclei, in the cerebellum, and in motor neurons of the spinal cord. In contrast, Prdx expression is very low in the dopaminergic neurons of substantia nigra pars compacta and in the CA1/2 pyramidal cells of hippocampus. This low basal expression may contribute to the vulnerability of these neurons to nitro-oxidative attacks occurring in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, we found that Prdx expression levels are unevenly distributed among neurons of a determined region and that distinct regional patterns of expression are observed between isoforms, reinforcing the hypothesis of the nonredundant function of Prdxs. J. Comp. Neurol. 520:258–280, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.