The Role of the NRF2 Pathway in Maintaining and Improving Cognitive Function

Nora E. Gray, Marcelo Farina, Paolo Tucci, Luciano Saso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2) is a redox-sensitive transcription factor that binds to the antioxidant response element consensus sequence, decreasing reactive oxygen species and regulating the transcription of a wide array of genes, including antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes, regulating genes involved in mitochondrial function and biogenesis. Moreover, NRF2 has been shown to directly regulate the expression of anti-inflammatory mediators reducing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In recent years, attention has turned to the role NRF2 plays in the brain in different diseases such Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and others. This review focused on the evidence, derived in vitro, in vivo and from clinical trials, supporting a role for NRF2 activation in maintaining and improving cognitive function and how its activation can be used to elicit neuroprotection and lead to cognitive enhancement. The review also brings a critical discussion concerning the possible prophylactic and/or therapeutic use of NRF2 activators in treating cognitive impairment-related conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2043
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • NRF2 signaling pathway
  • cognition improvement
  • cognitive decline
  • neurodegenerative diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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