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Life Sci. 1999;65(18-19):1865-74.

Chemistry, physiology and pathology of free radicals.

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Institute of Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.


The superoxide anion radical and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed in all aerobic organisms by enzymatic and nonenzymatic reactions. ROS arise in both physiological and pathological processes, but efficient mechanisms have evolved for their detoxification. Similarly, reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI) have physiological activity, but can also react with different types of molecules, including superoxide, to form toxic products. ROS and RNI participate in the destruction of microorganisms by phagocytes, as in the formation of a myeloperoxidase-hydrogen peroxide-chloride/iodide complex which can destroy many cells, including bacteria. It is known that the cellular production of ROS and RNI is controlled by different mechanisms. These free radicals can react with key cellular structures and molecules, thus altering their biological function. An imbalance between the systems producing and removing ROS and RNI may result in pathological consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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