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Trends Biochem Sci. 2000 Oct;25(10):502-8.

Mitochondria, oxygen free radicals, disease and ageing.

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  • 1Metabolism Research Programme, The Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave., M5G 1X8, Toronto, Canada.


Superoxide is generated by the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The transformation of this superoxide into hydrogen peroxide and, under certain conditions, then into hydroxyl radicals is important in diseases where respiratory chain function is abnormal or where superoxide dismutase function is altered, as in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In addition, these reactive oxygen species can influence the ageing process through mechanisms involving mutagenesis of mtDNA or increased rates of shortening of telomeric DNA.

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