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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reactive oxygen species, vascular oxidative stress, and redox signaling in hypertension: what is the clinical significance?

Metabolism of oxygen by cells generates potentially deleterious reactive oxygen species (ROS). Under normal conditions the rate and magnitude of oxidant formation is balanced by the rate of oxidant elimination. However, an imbalance between prooxidants and antioxidants results in oxidative stress, which is the pathogenic outcome of oxidant overproduction that overwhelms the cellular antioxidant capacity. The kidney and vasculature are rich sources of NADPH oxidase-derived ROS, which under pathological conditions play an important role in renal dysfunction and vascular damage. Strong experimental evidence indicates that increased oxidative stress and associated oxidative damage are mediators of renovascular injury in cardiovascular pathologies. Increased production of superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide, reduced nitric oxide synthesis, and decreased bioavailability of antioxidants have been demonstrated in experimental and human hypertension. These findings have evoked considerable interest because of the possibilities that therapies targeted against free radicals by decreasing ROS generation or by increasing nitric oxide availability and antioxidants may be useful in minimizing vascular injury and renal dysfunction and thereby prevent or regress hypertensive end-organ damage. This article highlights current developments in the field of ROS and hypertension, focusing specifically on the role of oxidative stress in hypertension-associated vascular damage. In addition, recent clinical trials investigating cardiovascular benefits of antioxidants are discussed, and some explanations for the rather disappointing results from these studies are addressed. Finally, important avenues for future research in the field of ROS, oxidative stress, and redox signaling in hypertension are considered.[1]


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