Hypoxia-inducible factor 1: a new hope to counteract neurodegeneration?

Authors

  • Sónia C. Correia,

    1. Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
    2. Department of Zoology, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
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  • Paula I. Moreira

    1. Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
    2. Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
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Address correspondence and reprint requests to Paula I. Moreira, Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3000-354, Portugal. E-mail: venta@ci.uc.pt or pismoreira@gmail.com

Abstract

J. Neurochem. (2010) 112, 1–12.

Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases, generally characterized by a progressive deterioration in the structure and function of the brain, represent one of the world’s major unsolved health problems. Therefore, it is urgent to discover therapeutic targets for the design of effective strategies for the treatment of these diseases. Recent findings demonstrated that the induction of the hypoxia signaling pathway with the concomitant stabilization and transcriptional activation of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) could mediate neuroprotective events. It has been shown that HIF-1 triggers the expression of genes involved in oxygen transport, glycolytic metabolism, angiogenesis, cell survival, apoptosis, and others processes that can interfere with cell survival. Here, we discuss the current knowledge pertaining to the regulation of HIF signaling pathway. The potential neuroprotective role of HIF-1 induction in cerebral ischemic stroke and Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases will be also discussed. The elucidation of the mechanisms involved in HIF-1-mediated neuroprotection could be important for the development of effective therapies to mitigate or prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

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