Increasing evidence in both experimental and clinical studies suggests that oxidative stress plays a major role in the pathogenesis of both types of diabetes mellitus. Free radicals are formed disproportionately in diabetes by glucose oxidation, nonenzymatic glycation of proteins, and the subsequent oxidative degradation of glycated proteins. Abnormally high levels of free radicals and the simultaneous decline of antioxidant defense mechanisms can lead to damage of cellular organelles and enzymes, increased lipid peroxidation, and development of insulin resistance. These consequences of oxidative stress can promote the development of complications of diabetes mellitus. Changes in oxidative stress biomarkers, including superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione levels, vitamins, lipid peroxidation, nitrite concentration, nonenzymatic glycosylated proteins, and hyperglycemia in diabetes, and their consequences, are discussed in this review. In vivo studies of the effects of various conventional and alternative drugs on these biomarkers are surveyed. There is a need to continue to explore the relationship between free radicals, diabetes, and its complications, and to elucidate the mechanisms by which increased oxidative stress accelerates the development of diabetic complications, in an effort to expand treatment options.
Copyright 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.