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: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Iliad founder says T-Mobile offer is 'real'

3 hours ago

French telecom upstart Iliad's founder said Friday that the company's offer for US-based T-Mobile is "real" and that he is open to working with partners on a deal.

Law changed to allow 'unlocking' cellphones

4 hours ago

President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on Friday making it legal once again to unlock a cellphone without permission from a wireless provider, so long as the service contract has expired.

Social network challenges end in tragedy

4 hours ago

Online challenges daring people to set themselves ablaze or douse themselves in ice water are racking up casualties and fueling wonder regarding idiocy in the Internet age.

Microsoft sues Samsung alleging contract breach

4 hours ago

Microsoft on Friday sued Samsung in federal court claiming the South Korean giant had breached a contract over cross-license technology used in the fiercely competitive smartphone market.

Recommended for you

West Africa seals off Ebola outbreak epicentre

3 hours ago

West Africa's Ebola-hit nations announced a cross-border isolation zone on Friday, sealing off the epicentre of the world's worst-ever outbreak as health chiefs warned the epidemic was spiralling out of control.

New research characterizes in-flight pediatric deaths

4 hours ago

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital (UH Rainbow) found that lap infants may be at greater risk for death on a commercial airline flight. The study analyzed ...

Pepper and halt: Spicy chemical may inhibit gut tumors

5 hours ago

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that dietary capsaicin – the active ingredient in chili peppers – produces chronic activation of a receptor on cells lining ...

Clues to curbing obesity found in neuronal 'sweet spot'

5 hours ago

Preventing weight gain, obesity, and ultimately diabetes could be as simple as keeping a nuclear receptor from being activated in a small part of the brain, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine ...

User comments : 0