A study of free radical chemistry: their role and pathophysiological significance
Mariusz Gutowski and Sławomir Kowalczyk
Oxygen is one of the most important molecules on Earth mainly because of the biochemical symmetry of oxygenic photosynthesis and aerobic respiration that can maintain homeostasis within our planet's biosphere. Oxygen can also produce toxic molecules, reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS play a dual role in biological systems, since they can be either harmful or beneficial to living systems. They can be considered a double-edged sword because at moderate concentrations, nitric oxide (NO•), superoxide anion, and related reactive oxygen species play an important role as regulatory mediators in signalling processes. Many of the ROS-mediated responses actually protect the cells against oxidative stress and re-establish "redox homeostasis". On the other hand, overproduction of ROS has the potential to cause damage. In the recent decades, ROS has become a focus of interest in most biomedical disciplines and many types of clinical research. Increasing evidence from research on several diseases shows that oxidative stress is associated with the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, ischaemia/reperfusion injury, obstructive sleep apnea, neurodegenerative disorders, hypertension and ageing.
Acta Biochimica Polonica, 60(1), 1-16, Review
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