Typically in aerobic metabolism, organic compounds such as nucleic acids, proteins and lipids can undergo structural damage by oxidative reactions. This damage caused by reactive oxygen/nitrogen species has been recognized as “oxidative stress”. Despite the biological systems present efficient enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant systems, oxidative stress indicates a pro-oxidant/antioxidant imbalance in favor of excessive generation of free radicals or decrease in the removal rate. Various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative clearly exemplify the chronic oxidative stress. Therefore, it is important to consider that at low and moderate ROS levels, it can, for example, act as signaling molecules that support cell proliferation and differentiation and activate survival pathways in response to stress. Correlations between oxidative stress and disease should be carefully investigated in order to understand whether oxidative stress actually increases susceptibility to a particular disease or opposite.
Part of the book: The Transcription Factor Nrf2