Mitochondria, oxygen free radicals, and apoptosis

Am J Med Genet. Spring 2001;106(1):62-70. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1398.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by mitochondria are produced as by-products of normal oxidative metabolism. The fate of these species is governed by a number of factors that vary from tissue to tissue in mammals and may be involved in the pathogenesis of disease. Reactive oxygen species are also invoked as agents that are important in the processes which become active in cells undergoing apoptosis. Integration of knowledge surrounding these different aspects of ROS generation is difficult and reveals considerable gaps in our understanding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Cytochrome c Group / metabolism
  • Electron Transport / genetics
  • Free Radicals / metabolism*
  • Genes, p53 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytochrome c Group
  • Free Radicals
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxides
  • Oxygen