The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is inevitable for aerobic organisms and, in healthy cells, occurs at a controlled rate. Increased ROS production by a cell is an early hallmark of cellular stress. Intracellular ROS cause damage to membrane proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids.

Oxidative damage to these biomolecules is associated with aging, as well as with a variety of pathological events, including atherosclerosis, carcinogenesis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and neurodegenerative disorders. The use of fluorogenic indicators such as CellROX dyes enables real-time analysis of ROS generation in living cells and in fixed cell preparations.

Oxidative stress is broadly defined as an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals, and their elimination by cellular antioxidant defenses. The consequences of uncontrolled oxidative stress can lead to oxidative damage to biomolecules critical to cellular structure and function.

Fortunately, powerful oxidative stress response mechanisms have evolved to protect organisms from the damaging effects of oxidative pressure in biological systems. However, uncontrolled oxidative stress is implicated in a wide variety of pathophysiology and age-related diseases, and understanding the role of oxidative stress in health and disease is a common goal of many biomedical research programs.

Arbor Assays provides tools to measure the status and activity of key oxidative stress biomarkers. For example, our glutathione and hydrogen peroxide assay kits are the easiest, most sensitive assay kits available to help researchers better monitor oxidative stress mechanisms and responses.

Free radicals, including reactive oxygen species (ROS), are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. Free radical production is a normal part of life, and moderate concentrations are involved in a number of signaling pathways, synthesis of cellular structures, and host defense against pathogens. Free radicals arise as by-products of normal metabolic processes or from external sources such as radiation, cigarette smoke, and pesticides.

Excessive or uncontrolled ROS production can cause cell damage and is implicated in a variety of pathological and age-related conditions. Examples of potentially harmful free radicals include:

  • Superoxide (O2- •),
  • Hydroxyl radical (• OH)
  • Nitric oxide radical (NO)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2),

How do free radicals affect the body?

Biological systems produce free radicals during normal metabolic processes, and cells also produce antioxidants that neutralize excess free radicals. Under normal circumstances, the body can maintain a balance between antioxidants and free radicals.

Excessive oxidative stress can lead to an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Subsequent oxidative damage occurs in proteins, lipids, and DNA, which could lead to cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and even carcinogenesis when damaged (mutated) cells proliferate. Uncontrolled oxidative stress can accelerate the aging process and can contribute to the development of a number of pathological conditions.

Several factors contribute to oxidative stress and excess free radical production, including diet, lifestyle, and environmental conditions. The body’s natural immune response can also temporarily trigger oxidative stress. This type of oxidative stress causes mild inflammation while the immune system fights infection or repairs an injury.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are substances that neutralize or eliminate free radicals by donating an electron. The neutralizing effect of antioxidants helps protect biological systems from oxidative stress. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E. Cells can also produce endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione (GSH).

What are the effects of oxidative stress?

The oxidative stress that results from physical activity has beneficial regulatory effects on the body. Free radicals that are formed during physical activity regulate tissue growth and stimulate the production of antioxidants. Mild oxidative stress can also protect the body from infection and disease.

However, long-term, uncontrolled oxidative stress damages the body’s cells, proteins, and DNA. This can contribute to aging and can play an important role in the development of a variety of conditions. In particular, oxidative stress can cause chronic inflammation. Under normal circumstances, infections and injuries trigger the body’s immune response that produces free radicals while fighting invading germs. These free radicals can also damage healthy cells and lead to inflammation. Oxidative stress can also trigger the inflammatory response, which produces more free radicals that lead to increased oxidative stress, creating a cycle. Chronic inflammation from oxidative stress ELISA kit can lead to a number of conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.

What conditions are related to oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress can play a role in the development of a variety of conditions, including:

  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and stroke
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Asthma
  • Male infertility

How is oxidative stress measured?

Understanding the role ROS plays in health and disease is a common goal of many biomedical researchers. The level of oxidative stress can be determined by measuring the number of free radicals, ROS, antioxidants, or the activity of the cellular mechanisms deployed to control the levels of oxidative stress. Arbor Assays offers a variety of oxidative stress kits to help answer your most challenging questions about the mechanisms of oxidative stress.

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