Neuroprotection afforded by circadian regulation of intracellular glutathione levels: A key role for miRNAs☆

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Circadian rhythms are approximately 24-h oscillations of physiological and behavioral processes that allow us to adapt to daily environmental cycles. Like many other biological functions, cellular redox status and antioxidative defense systems display circadian rhythmicity. In the central nervous system (CNS), glutathione (GSH) is a critical antioxidant because the CNS is extremely vulnerable to oxidative stress; oxidative stress, in turn, causes several fatal diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases. It has long been known that GSH level shows circadian rhythm, although the mechanism underlying GSH rhythm production has not been well-studied. Several lines of recent evidence indicate that the expression of antioxidant genes involved in GSH homeostasis as well as circadian clock genes are regulated by post-transcriptional regulator microRNA (miRNA), indicating that miRNA plays a key role in generating GSH rhythm. Interestingly, several reports have shown that alterations of miRNA expression as well as circadian rhythm have been known to link with various diseases related to oxidative stress. A growing body of evidence implicates a strong correlation between antioxidative defense, circadian rhythm and miRNA function, therefore, their dysfunctions could cause numerous diseases. It is hoped that continued elucidation of the antioxidative defense systems controlled by novel miRNA regulation under circadian control will advance the development of therapeutics for the diseases caused by oxidative stress.

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