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There is growing evidence that many forms of diseases including cancer, diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis
and Alzheimer?s disease can be initiated by free radical mediated events or oxidant stress. A cellular source and target of
free radical or reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and damage is the mitochondrion. The interaction of mitochondria
with ROS modulates cell-signaling pathways and molecular events that control ROS production. Because mitochondria are
essential for multiple cell functions, including energy production, redox signaling, cell growth, proliferation, and apoptosis,
ROS induce mitochondrial damage and dysfunction in various cells. The effects of ROS on the cells can vary. Under oxidative
stress, cycling cells show cell cycle checkpoint responses with a wide array of different mechanisms to block or repair the damage
caused by ROS to maintain genomic stability. These mechanisms consist of oxidative response enzymes such as SOD, catalase
and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), MPO, iNOS, antioxidants, DNA repair enzymes. However, high levels of unregulated
ROS severely impair cellular functions by inducing DNA damage and signaling cascades. Eating disorders and obesity may
abnormally increase the amount of ROS and induce disease formation. Caloric restriction on animals and humans reduces
the production of ROS and even prolongs the human and animal life. It seems therefore that although a balance between the
activation and adaptation of several mechanisms controlled by oxidative signaling occurs, in many chronic diseases these
adapted systems are more likely to respond in an abnormal manner under oxidative conditions.
Yavuz Cakir has completed his PhD at the University of Tennessee and Postdoctoral studies at University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has more than 10 years
experience in preclinical and basic research, academic medicine and clinical and laboratory sciences. He conducted research on the mitochondrial diseases and
published several articles. His focus is on the cancer, aging, mitochondrial DNA damage, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, ethanol metabolism, free
radicals and caloric restriction.
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