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Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Nov;61:240-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.08.074. Epub 2013 Sep 8.

Biological importance of reactive oxygen species in relation to difficulties of treating pathologies involving oxidative stress by exogenous antioxidants.

Author information

1
Institute of Experimental Pharmacology & Toxicology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia. Electronic address: ivo.juranek@savba.sk.

Abstract

Findings about involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) not only in defense processes, but also in a number of pathologies, stimulated discussion about their role in etiopathogenesis of various diseases. Yet questions regarding the role of ROS in tissue injury, whether ROS may serve as a common cause of different disorders or whether their uncontrolled production is just a manifestation of the processes involved, remain unexplained. Dogmatically, increased ROS formation is considered to be responsible for development of the so-called free-radical diseases. The present review discusses importance of ROS in various biological processes, including origin of life, evolution, genome plasticity, maintaining homeostasis and organism protection. This may be a reason why no significant benefit was found when exogenous antioxidants were used to treat free-radical diseases, even though their causality was primarily attributed to ROS. Here, we postulate that ROS unlikely play a causal role in tissue damage, but may readily be involved in signaling processes and as such in mediating tissue healing rather than injuring. This concept is thus in a contradiction to traditional understanding of ROS as deleterious agents. Nonetheless, under conditions of failing autoregulation, ROS may attack integral cellular components, cause cell death and deteriorate the evolving injury.

KEYWORDS:

Biological importance of reactive oxygen species; Deleterious action; Exogenous antioxidants; Signaling role; Tissue injury

PMID:
24025685
DOI:
10.1016/j.fct.2013.08.074
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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