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Ann Hepatol. 2004 Jul-Sep;3(3):86-92.

The importance of redox state in liver damage.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies, University of Udine, P.le Kolbe 4, 33100 Udine, Italy.


Oxidative stress is a major pathogenetic event occurring in several liver disorders ranging from metabolic to proliferative ones, and is a major cause of liver damage due to Ischemia/Reperfusion (I/R) during liver transplantation. The main sources of ROS are represented by mitochondria and cytocrome P450 enzymes in the hepatocyte, by Kupffer cells and by neutrophils. Cells are provided with efficient molecular strategies to strictly control the intracellular ROS level and to maintain the balance between oxidant and antioxidant molecules. A cellular oxidative stress condition is determined by an imbalance between the generation of ROS and the antioxidant defense capacity of the cell and can affect major cellular components including lipids, proteins and DNA. Proteins are very important signposts of cellular redox status and through their structure/function modulation, ROS can also influence gene expression profile by affecting intracellular signal transduction pathways. While several enzymatic (such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase) and non enzymatic (such as 4-hydroxynonenal, decrease of glutathione, vitamin E, vitamin C, malondialdehyde) markers of chronic oxidative stress in liver are well known, early protein targets of oxidative injury are yet not well defined. Identification of these markers will enable early detection of liver diseases and will allow monitoring the degree of liver damage, the response to pharmacological therapies and the development of new therapeutic approaches. In the new era of molecular medicine, new proteomics methodologies promise to establish a relationship between pathological hallmarks of disease and protein structural and functional abnormalities in liver disease, thus allowing a better understanding and a more rational therapy on these disorders.

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