Therapeutic potential of targeting hydrogen peroxide metabolism in the treatment of brain ischaemia

Marta Armogida, Robert Nisticò, Nicola Biagio Mercuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For many years after its discovery, hydrogen peroxide (H 2O 2) was viewed as a toxic molecule to human tissues; however, in light of recent findings, it is being recognized as an ubiquitous endogenous molecule of life as its biological role has been better elucidated. Indeed, increasing evidence suggests that H 2O 2 may act as a second messenger with a pro-survival role in several physiological processes. In addition, our group has recently demonstrated neuroprotective effects of H 2O 2 on in vitro and in vivo ischaemic models through a catalase (CAT) enzyme-mediated mechanism. Therefore, the present review summarizes experimental data supporting a neuroprotective potential of H 2O 2 in ischaemic stroke that has been principally achieved by means of pharmacological and genetic strategies that modify either the activity or the expression of the superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and CAT enzymes, which are key regulators of H 2O 2 metabolism. It also critically discusses a translational impact concerning the role played by H 2O 2 in ischaemic stroke. Based on these data, we hope that further research will be done in order to better understand the mechanisms underlying H 2O 2 functions and to promote successful H 2O 2 signalling based therapy in ischaemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1224
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • brain ischaemia
  • catalase
  • electrophysiology
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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