Free Radicals and Antioxidants in Cardiovascular Health and Disease
Current hypotheses favour the concept that lowering oxidative stress can have a health benefit. Free radicals can be overproduced or the natural antioxidant system defenses weakened, first resulting in oxidative stress, and then leading to oxidative injury and disease. Cardiovascular disease is one example of this process. This disorder continues to be the major cause of premature death worldwide. Oxidation of human low-density lipoproteins is considered an early step in the progression and eventual development of atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes to cardiovascular dysfunction. Compelling support for the involvement of free radicals in disease development originates from epidemiological studies showing that an enhanced antioxidant status is associated with reduced risk of several diseases. Dietary nutraceuticals such as vitamins C, E and polyphenolics and reduction of cardiovascular disease incidence are a notable example. This paper reviews the biology of ROS/RNS, their pathways through which they relate to the pathology of cardiovascular disease and discusses the putative roles that antioxidants, including phenolics, may play in controlling oxidative stress and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, inflammation, cell signaling and transduction mechanisms, antioxidants, dietary phenolics.
Internet Journal of Medical Update Vol. 1 (2) 2006: pp. 24-40