Cell Stress

Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is imposed on cells as a result of one of three factors: 1) an increase in oxidant generation, 2) a decrease in antioxidant protection, or 3) a failure to repair oxidative damage. Cell damage is induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are either free radicals, reactive anions containing oxygen atoms, or molecules containing oxygen atoms that can either produce free radicals or are chemically activated by them. Examples are hydroxyl radical, superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and peroxynitrite. The main source of ROS in vivo is aerobic respiration, although ROS are also produced by peroxisomal b-oxidation of fatty acids, microsomal cytochrome P450 metabolism of xenobiotic compounds, stimulation of phagocytosis by pathogens or lipopolysaccharides, arginine metabolism, and tissue specific enzymes. Under normal conditions, ROS are cleared from the cell by the action of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, or glutathione (GSH) peroxidase. The main damage to cells results from the ROS-induced alteration of macromolecules such as polyunsaturated fatty acids in membrane lipids, essential proteins, and DNA. Additionally, oxidative stress and ROS have been implicated in disease states, such as Alzheimer′s disease, Parkinson′s disease, cancer, and aging.
References:
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Hayes, J.D., et al., Glutathione and glutathione-dependent enzymes represent a co-ordinately regulated defense against oxidative stress. Free Radic. Res. 31, 273-300 (1999).