For most living beings, oxygen is an essential molecule for survival, being the basis of biological oxidations, which satisfy most of the energy needs of aerobic organisms. Oxygen can also behave as a toxic agent posing a threat to the existence of living beings since it can give rise to reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can oxidise biological macromolecules, among which proteins and lipids are the preferred targets. Oxidative damage can induce cell, tissue, and organ dysfunction, which leads to severe body damage and even death. The survival of the aerobic organism depends on the development of an elaborate antioxidant defence system adapted to the normal level of atmospheric oxygen. The production of ROS in the aerobic organism can occur accidentally from exposure to pollutants or radiation, but occurs constantly during normal metabolic reactions. Cells have evolved using ROS to their advantage. Indeed, ROS are used as signalling molecules in numerous physiological processes, including muscle contraction, regulation of insulin release, and adaptation to environmental changes. Therefore, supplementation with antioxidants must be used wisely. A low level of ROS is essential for adaptation processes, so an excess of antioxidants can be harmful. Conversely, in conditions where ROS production increases, antioxidants can be useful to avoid cellular dysfunction. View Full-Text

The Ambiguous Aspects of Oxygen

Gaetana Napolitano;Gianluca Fasciolo;Paola Venditti
2022

Abstract

For most living beings, oxygen is an essential molecule for survival, being the basis of biological oxidations, which satisfy most of the energy needs of aerobic organisms. Oxygen can also behave as a toxic agent posing a threat to the existence of living beings since it can give rise to reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can oxidise biological macromolecules, among which proteins and lipids are the preferred targets. Oxidative damage can induce cell, tissue, and organ dysfunction, which leads to severe body damage and even death. The survival of the aerobic organism depends on the development of an elaborate antioxidant defence system adapted to the normal level of atmospheric oxygen. The production of ROS in the aerobic organism can occur accidentally from exposure to pollutants or radiation, but occurs constantly during normal metabolic reactions. Cells have evolved using ROS to their advantage. Indeed, ROS are used as signalling molecules in numerous physiological processes, including muscle contraction, regulation of insulin release, and adaptation to environmental changes. Therefore, supplementation with antioxidants must be used wisely. A low level of ROS is essential for adaptation processes, so an excess of antioxidants can be harmful. Conversely, in conditions where ROS production increases, antioxidants can be useful to avoid cellular dysfunction. View Full-Text
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/895064
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