Oxyl radicals, redox-sensitive signalling cascades and antioxidants.Cell Signal. 2007 Sep; 19(9):1807-19.CS
Oxidative stress is an increase in the reduction potential or a large decrease in the reducing capacity of the cellular redox couples. A particularly destructive aspect of oxidative stress is the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which include free radicals and peroxides. Some of the less reactive of these species can be converted by oxidoreduction reactions with transition metals into more aggressive radical species that can cause extensive cellular damage. In animals, ROS may influence cell proliferation, cell death (either apoptosis or necrosis) and the expression of genes, and may be involved in the activation of several signalling pathways, activating cell signalling cascades, such as those involving mitogen-activated protein kinases. Most of these oxygen-derived species are produced at a low level by normal aerobic metabolism and the damage they cause to cells is constantly repaired. The cellular redox environment is preserved by enzymes and antioxidants that maintain the reduced state through a constant input of metabolic energy. This review summarizes current studies that have been regarding the production of ROS and the general redox-sensitive targets of cell signalling cascades.