Free radical cell death switch identified

Jun 01, 2006

U.S. scientists say they've found a molecular pathway that might cause stroke, diabetes, heart and neurodegenerative disease and even the aging process.

Harvard Medical School researchers identified a pathway by which oxidative stress triggers cell death -- a finding that could pave the way for new drug targets and diagnostic strategies for age-related diseases.

"A common molecular denominator in aging and many age-related diseases is oxidative stress," said the study's lead author Dr. Azad Bonni, an associate professor of pathology.

Bonni says humans and other organisms depend on oxygen to produce energy for normal cell functions. A cell's engine, the mitochondria, converts oxygen into energy but that process also leaves a kind of exhaust product known as free radicals.

When free radicals are not destroyed by antioxidants, they create oxidative stress and, as a person ages, the body is unable to fight the process.

A lifetime of oxidative stress leads to general cellular deterioration associated with aging and degenerative diseases.

Bonni and his research team say they've defined how a molecular chain-of-events links oxidative-stress signals to cell death in brain neurons.

The findings are detailed in the June 2 issue of the journal Cell.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: 'Blood lab' inside a mobile phone could detect cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The promise and peril of nanotechnology

Mar 26, 2014

Scientists at Northwestern University have found a way to detect metastatic breast cancer by arranging strands of DNA into spherical shapes and using them to cover a tiny particle of gold, creating a "nano-flare" ...

NREL driving research on hydrogen fuel cells

Mar 25, 2014

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) were the belles of the ball at recent auto shows in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ...

Optical techniques examine toxic agents in cells

Dec 09, 2013

EPFL researchers have developed a method for accurately determining the toxicity of nanomaterials. By using optical techniques, they are able to measure the concentration of the oxidizing substances produced ...

Recommended for you

Rural microbes could boost city dwellers' health

4 hours ago

The greater prevalence of asthma, allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders among people of lower socioeconomic status might be due in part to their reduced exposure to the microbes that thrive in rural environments, ...

User comments : 0

More news stories