Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a multifaceted disease that is hard to treat by single-modal treatment. AD starts with amyloid peptides, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress and later is accompanied with chronic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy dysfunction, resulting in more complicated pathogenesis. Currently, few treatments can modify the complicated pathogenic progress of AD. Compared to the treatment with exogenous antioxidants, the activation of global antioxidant defense system via Nrf2 looks more promising in attenuating oxidative stress in AD brains. Accompanying the activation of the Nrf2-mediated antioxidant defense system that reduce the AD-causative factor, oxidative stress, it is also necessary to activate the neurotrophic signaling pathway that replaces damaged organelles and molecules with new ones. Thus, the dual actions to activate both the Nrf2 antioxidant system and neurotrophic signaling pathway are expected to provide a better strategy to modify AD pathogenesis. Here, we review the current understanding of AD pathogenesis and neuronal defense systems and discuss a possible way to co-activate the Nrf2 antioxidant system and neurotrophic signaling pathway with the hope of helping to find a better strategy to slow AD.
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