Author(s): Singal PK, Dhalla AK, Hill M, Thomas TP
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Abstract Oxygen is a diradical and because of its unique electronic configuration, it has the potential to form strong oxidants (e.g. superoxide radical, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical) called oxygen free radicals or partially reduced forms of oxygen (PRFO). These highly reactive oxygen species can cause cellular injury by oxidizing lipids and proteins as well as by causing strand breaks in nucleic acids. PRFO are produced in the cell during normal redox reactions including respiration and there are various antioxidants in the cell which scavenge these radicals. Thus in order to maintain a normal cell structure and function, a proper balance between free radical production and antioxidant levels is absolutely essential. Production of PRFO in the myocardium is increased during various in vivo as well as in vitro pathological conditions and these toxic radicals are responsible for causing functional, biochemical and ultrastructural changes in cardiac myocytes. Indirect evidence of free radical involvement in myocardial injury is provided by studies in which protection against these alterations is seen in the presence of exogenous administration of antioxidants. Endogenous myocardial antioxidants have also been reported to change under various physiological as well as pathophysiological conditions. It appears that endogenous antioxidants respond and adjust to different stress conditions and failure of these compensatory changes may also contribute in cardiac dysfunction. Thus endogenous and/or exogenous increase in antioxidants might have a therapeutic potential in various pathological conditions which result from increased free radical production.
This article was published in Mol Cell Biochem
and referenced in Journal of Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy