Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage are closely related to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). The pharmacological mechanism of protocatechuic aldehyde (PCA) for PD treatment have retained unclear. The purposes of the present study were to clarify the neuroprotective effects of post-treatment of PCA for PD treatment by mitigating mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage, and to further determine whether its effects were mediated by the polo-like kinase 2/phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3 β/nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (PLK2/p-GSK3β/Nrf2) pathways. We found that PCA improved 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced behavioral deficits and dopaminergic cell loss. Moreover, PCA increased the expressions of PLK2, p-GSK3β and Nrf2, following the decrease of α-synuclein (α-Syn) in MPTP-intoxicated mice. Cell viability was increased and the apoptosis rate was reduced by PCA in 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium iodide (MPP+)-incubated cells. Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), mitochondrial complex I activity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in MPP+-incubated cells were also ameliorated by treatment with PCA. The neuroprotective effects of PCA were abolished by inhibition or knockdown of PLK2, whereas overexpression of PLK2 strengthened the protection of PCA. Furthermore, GSK3β and Nrf2 were involved in PCA-induced protection. These results indicated that PCA has therapeutic effects on PD by the PLK2/p-GSK3β/Nrf2 pathway.