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J Biomed Sci. 1998 Nov-Dec;5(6):401-14.

Oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65212, USA.


Oxidative insults, whether over-excitation, excessive release of glutamate or ATP caused by stroke, ischemia or inflammation, exposure to ionizing radiation, heavy-metal ions or oxidized lipoproteins may initiate various signaling cascades leading to apoptotic cell death and neurodegenerative disorders. Among the various reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in the living organism, hydroxyl and peroxynitrite are the most potent and can damage proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. It appears that some natural antioxidants (tocopherol, ascorbic acid and glutathione) and defense enzyme systems (superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase) may provide some protection against oxidative damage. Recent findings indicate several polyphenols and antioxidant drugs (probucol, seligilline) are effective in protecting the cells from ROS attack. Further development of these antioxidant molecules may be of value in preventing the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

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