Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 312–342 | Cite as

Sex-Specific Differences in Redox Homeostasis in Brain Norm and Disease

  • Joanna A. RuszkiewiczEmail author
  • Antonio Miranda-Vizuete
  • Alexey A. Tinkov
  • Margarita G. Skalnaya
  • Anatoly V. Skalny
  • Aristides Tsatsakis
  • Michael Aschner


Sex differences in brain physiology and by inference various pathologies are generally recognized, however frequently ignored in epidemiological and experimental studies, leading to numerous data gaps. As a consequence, the mechanisms underlying sexual dimorphism of neurological diseases remain largely unknown. Several cellular and molecular pathways linked to the etiology and pathogenesis of various brain disorders have been recently described as sex-specific. Here, we review the evidence for sex differences in brain redox homeostasis, which is an important factor in brain physiology and disease. First, we focus on sex-specific differences in the healthy brain regarding popular redox balance markers, including reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, oxidative damage, and antioxidant status. We also review the modulatory effect of steroid sex hormones on these markers. Lastly, we approach the sex-specific changes in brain redox homeostasis in disease and discuss the possibility that differential redox response contributes to the sexual dimorphism of neurological disorders.


Oxidative stress Antioxidant Sex Brain Neurodegeneration Neurotoxicity 



Ascorbic acid

β-Amyloid peptide


Alzheimer disease


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Activator protein-1


Amyloid precursor protein


Antioxidant response element




Autism spectrum disorder


Adenosine triphosphate




Bisphenol A






Controlled cortical impact


Caudate nucleus


Central nervous system


Cytochrome c oxidase


Caudate putamen




Cyclic AMP response element binding protein


Cerebrospinal fluid






Lewy body dementia


Diesel exhaust






Embryonic day


Endocrine disrupting chemical


Estrogen receptor


Electron transport chain




Ethanol withdrawal




Familial ALS


Frontal cortex




Flavin-containing monooxygenase


Ferric reducing antioxidant power


Glutamate-cysteine ligase




γ-Glutamyl transferase


Glutathione reduced


Glutathione oxidized


Glutathione peroxidase


Glutathione reductase




Glutathione synthase


Glutathione S-transferase




Huntington’s disease




Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy




Heme oxygenase 1






Intracerebral hemorrhage


Inducible nitric oxide synthase


Intelligence quotient


Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1




Lipid peroxidation




Middle cerebral artery occlusion


Major depressive disorder






Medulla oblongata




1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6, tetrahydro-pyridine


Nucleus accumbens


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Nuclear factor-κB


National Institutes of Health


Neuronal nitric oxide synthase


Nitric oxide


Nitric oxide synthase


Stable nitric oxide metabolites, nitrite (NO2-) + nitrate (NO3-)


Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2




NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (quinone) 1


Olfactory bulb




Oxidative -nitrosative stress


Organophosphate pesticide




Polychlorinated biphenyl


Parkinson disease


Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances


Prefrontal cortex


Perfluorooctanoic acid


Perfluorooctane sulfonate


Postnatal day


Polyinosinic/polycytidylic acid








Peripubertal unpredictable stress


Rat neural progenitor cells


Reactive nitrogen species


Reactive oxygen species




status epilepticus


substantia nigra


Superoxide dismutase


Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase


Mn-superoxide dismutase




Total antioxidant capacity


Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances


Tetrabromobisphenol A


Traumatic brain injury










Thioredoxin reductase


Testosterone propionate


Uric acid


Vitamin D receptor




Funding information

MA was supported by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIEHS R01ES07331, NIEHS R01ES10563, and NIEHS R01ES020852.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular PharmacologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Instituto de Biomedicina de SevillaHospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/CSIC/Universidad de SevillaSevillaSpain
  3. 3.Yaroslavl State UniversityYaroslavlRussia
  4. 4.Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)MoscowRussia
  5. 5.All-Russian Research Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (VILAR)MoscowRussia
  6. 6.Department of Forensic Sciences and Toxicology, School of MedicineUniversity of CreteHeraklionGreece

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