Oxidative stress and gene regulation

Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Feb 1;28(3):463-99. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(99)00242-7.


Reactive oxygen species are produced by all aerobic cells and are widely believed to play a pivotal role in aging as well as a number of degenerative diseases. The consequences of the generation of oxidants in cells does not appear to be limited to promotion of deleterious effects. Alterations in oxidative metabolism have long been known to occur during differentiation and development. Experimental perturbations in cellular redox state have been shown to exert a strong impact on these processes. The discovery of specific genes and pathways affected by oxidants led to the hypothesis that reactive oxygen species serve as subcellular messengers in gene regulatory and signal transduction pathways. Additionally, antioxidants can activate numerous genes and pathways. The burgeoning growth in the number of pathways shown to be dependent on oxidation or antioxidation has accelerated during the last decade. In the discussion presented here, we provide a tabular summary of many of the redox effects on gene expression and signaling pathways that are currently known to exist.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Disease
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / physiology


  • Reactive Oxygen Species