Oxygen free-radicals in medicine (2).

L M Ribeiro

Abstract


Free radicals are highly reactive molecules, and therefore transient, which have an odd number of electrons and are generated in vivo as byproducts of normal metabolism. In this review we survey basic concepts on the chemistry of oxygen free radicals, their cellular sources and the reactions they can undergo. We also discuss the cellular defenses against free radicals induced damage. The disfunction induced by free radicals may thus be a major component of several pathological conditions. The critical role played by free radicals in ageing, carcinogenesis, reperfusion injury and respiratory distress is reviewed.

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