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Redox Biol. 2014;2:165-9. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Positive oxidative stress in aging and aging-related disease tolerance.

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Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and Institute for Aging and Alzheimer's Disease, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX 76107, United States. Electronic address:


It is now well established that reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species (RNS), and a basal level of oxidative stress are essential for cell survival. It is also well known that while severe oxidative stress often leads to widespread oxidative damage and cell death, a moderate level of oxidative stress, induced by a variety of stressors, can yield great beneficial effects on adaptive cellular responses to pathological challenges in aging and aging-associated disease tolerance such as ischemia tolerance. Here in this review, I term this moderate level of oxidative stress as positive oxidative stress, which usually involves imprinting molecular signatures on lipids and proteins via formation of lipid peroxidation by-products and protein oxidation adducts. As ROS/RNS are short-lived molecules, these molecular signatures can thus execute the ultimate function of ROS/RNS. Representative examples of lipid peroxidation products and protein oxidation adducts are presented to illustrate the role of positive oxidative stress in a variety of pathological settings, demonstrating that positive oxidative stress could be a valuable prophylactic and/or therapeutic approach targeting aging and aging-associated diseases.


Aging; Disease tolerance; Positive oxidative stress; Reactive nitrogen species; Reactive oxygen species

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