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: Mindfulness treatment as effective as CBT for depression and anxiety

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

For enterics, adaptability could be an Achilles heel

Nov 10, 2014

In research published in Nature Chemical Biology, scientists from RIKEN in Japan have discovered a surprisingly simple mechanism through which enterics can adjust to the very different oxygen environments inside the human ...

Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

Oct 18, 2014

Throw a rock through a window made of silica glass, and the brittle, insulating oxide pane shatters. But whack a golf ball with a club made of metallic glass—a resilient conductor that looks like metal—and the glass not ...

Recommended for you

'Trigger' for stress processes discovered in the brain

1 hour ago

At the Center for Brain Research at the MedUni Vienna an important factor for stress has been identified in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden). This is the protein secretagogin ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.