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FEMS Yeast Res. 2014 Feb;14(1):33-9. doi: 10.1111/1567-1364.12070. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Reactive oxygen species, ageing and the hormesis police.

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Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal; ICVS/3B's - PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal.


For more than 50 years, the free radical theory served as the paradigm guiding most investigations of ageing. However, recent studies in a variety of organisms have identified conceptual and practical limitations to this theory. Some of these limitations are related to the recent discovery that caloric restriction and other experimental manipulations promote longevity by inducing hormesis effects in association with increased reactive oxygen species (ROS). The beneficial role of ROS in lifespan extension is consistent with the essential role of these molecules in cell signalling. However, the identity of specific forms of ROS that promote longevity remains unclear. In this article, we argue that in several model systems, hydrogen peroxide plays a crucial role in the induction of hormesis.


ROS signalling; ageing; caloric restriction; hormesis; longevity; oxidative damage

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