The Role of Nrf2 in Cellular Innate Immune Response to Inflammatory Injury
Toxicological Research 2009;25:159−173
Published online December 31, 2009
© 2009 The Korean Society Of Toxicology.

Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
Young-Joon Surh, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, 599 Kwanak-ro, Kwanak-gu, Seoul 151-742, Korea E-mail:
Received: December 2, 2009; Accepted: December 2, 2009
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Nuclear factor erythroid derived 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) is a master transcription regulator of antioxidant and cytoprotective proteins that mediate cellular defense against oxidative and inflammatory stresses. Disruption of cellular stress response by Nrf2 deficiency causes enhanced susceptibility to infection and related inflammatory diseases as a consequence of exacerbated immune-mediated hypersensitivity and autoimmunity. The cellular defense capacity potentiated by Nrf2 activation appears to balance the population of CD4+ and CD8+ of lymph node cells for proper innate immune responses. Nrf2 can negatively regulate the activation of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules such as p38 MAPK, NF-κB, and AP-1. Nrf2 subsequently functions to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators including cytokines, chemokines, cell adhesion molecules, matrix metalloproteinases, COX-2 and iNOS. Although not clearly elucidated, the antioxidative function of genes targeted by Nrf2 may cooperatively regulate the innate immune response and also repress the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators.

Keywords : Nrf2, Innate immunity, Inflammation




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