Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide; it is characterized by dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra pars compacta, but its etiology is not fully understood. Astrocytes, a class of glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS), provide critical structural and metabolic support to neurons, but growing evidence reveals that astrocytic oxidative and nitrosative stress contributes to PD pathogenesis. As astrocytes play a critical role in the production of antioxidants and the detoxification of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS), astrocytic oxidative/nitrosative stress has emerged as a critical mediator of the etiology of PD. Cellular stress and inflammation induce reactive astrogliosis, which initiates the production of astrocytic ROS/RNS and may lead to oxidative/nitrosative stress and PD pathogenesis. Although the cause of aberrant reactive astrogliosis is unknown, gene mutations and environmental toxicants may also contribute to astrocytic oxidative/nitrosative stress. In this review, we briefly discuss the physiological functions of astrocytes and the role of astrocytic oxidative/nitrosative stress in PD pathogenesis. Additionally, we examine the impact of PD-related genes such as α-synuclein, protein deglycase DJ-1( DJ-1), Parkin, and PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) on astrocytic function, and highlight the impact of environmental toxicants, such as 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), rotenone, manganese, and paraquat, on astrocytic oxidative/nitrosative stress in experimental models.
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