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IUBMB Life. 2001 Sep-Nov;52(3-5):159-64.

The mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species: mechanisms and implications in human pathology.

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Dipartimento di Biochimica G. Moruzzi, University of Bologna, Italy.


Mitochondria are major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS); the main sites of superoxide radical production in the respiratory chain are Complexes III and I; however, other mitochondrial enzymes, such as Complex II, glycerol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase, and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, are also involved in production of ROS. ROS appear to be released both in the matrix and in the intermembrane space; however, their appearance outside the mitochondria may not be physiologically relevant. ROS production is increased in State 4 and in all conditions when the respiratory components are substantially in the reduced form. Accordingly, defects inducing decrease of electron transfer in the respiratory chain, as in many pathological conditions, are bound to enhance ROS production.

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