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Anaesthesia. 1988 Apr;43(4):315-20.

Free radicals. Formation, function and potential relevance in anaesthesia.

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Department of Anaesthetics, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London.


Free radical species are ubiquitous in plant and animal life. This article describes briefly the formation of certain oxygen-centred free radicals which are essential for aerobic metabolism and host defences in humans. The mechanism of cytotoxicity of excess or inappropriate free radical production is described. The potential relevance of free radical tissue injury to the anaesthetist is illustrated using oxygen toxicity, adult respiratory distress syndrome and halothane hepatitis as examples.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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