Antioxidants in health and disease

J Clin Pathol. 2001 Mar;54(3):176-86. doi: 10.1136/jcp.54.3.176.


Free radical production occurs continuously in all cells as part of normal cellular function. However, excess free radical production originating from endogenous or exogenous sources might play a role in many diseases. Antioxidants prevent free radical induced tissue damage by preventing the formation of radicals, scavenging them, or by promoting their decomposition. This article reviews the basic chemistry of free radical formation in the body, the consequences of free radical induced tissue damage, and the function of antioxidant defence systems, with particular reference to the development of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Coronary Disease / metabolism*
  • Free Radicals / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals