Inflammation Research

, Volume 67, Issue 7, pp 579–588 | Cite as

A review on heme oxygenase-1 induction: is it a necessary evil

  • Ajaz Ahmad WazaEmail author
  • Zeenat Hamid
  • Sajad Ali
  • Shabir Ahmad Bhat
  • Musadiq Ahmad Bhat


Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is considered to be the main protein in diseases arising as a result of oxidative and inflammatory insults. Tremendous research has been carried out on HO-1 since years, pertaining its cytoprotective effect against oxidative injury and other cellular stresses. HO-1, by regulating intracellular levels of pro-oxidant heme, or by other benefits of its by-products such as carbon monoxide (CO) and biliverdin (BV) had become an important candidate protein to be up-regulated to combat diverse stressful events. Although the beneficial effects of HO-1 induction have been reported in a number of cells and tissues, a growing body of evidence indicates that this increased HO-1 expression may lead to the progression of several diseases such as neurodegeneration, carcinogenesis. But it is not clear, what accounts for the increased expression of HO-1 in cells and tissues. The observed friendly role of HO-1 in a wide range of stress conditions since times is now doubtful. Therefore, more studies are needed to elucidate the exact role of HO-1 in various stressful events. Being more concise, elucidating the effect of HO-1 up-regulation on critical genes involved in particular diseases such as cancer will help to a larger extent to comprehend the exact role of HO-1. This review will assist in understanding the dual role (protective and detrimental) of HO-1 and the signaling pathway involved and will help in unraveling the doubtful role of HO-1 induction.


Bilirubin Carbon monoxide Cytoprotection Heme Heme oxygenase Oxidative dysregulation 



Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) GOI, New Delhi is acknowledged for providing fellowship to Ajaz Ahmad Waza (CSIR-RA fellow) (9/251 (0077)/2k17).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ajaz Ahmad Waza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zeenat Hamid
    • 2
  • Sajad Ali
    • 1
  • Shabir Ahmad Bhat
    • 1
  • Musadiq Ahmad Bhat
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre of Research for Development (CORD)University of KashmirSrinagarIndia
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of KashmirSrinagarIndia
  3. 3.Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated HospitalsNew DelhiIndia

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