Extracellular superoxide dismutase in biology and medicine

Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 Aug 1;35(3):236-56. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(03)00275-2.


Accumulated evidence has shown that reactive oxygen species (ROS) are important mediators of cell signaling events such as inflammatory reactions (superoxide) and the maintenance of vascular tone (nitric oxide). However, overproduction of ROS such as superoxide has been associated with the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, and pulmonary diseases. Antioxidant enzymes are, in part, responsible for maintaining low levels of these oxygen metabolites in tissues and may play key roles in controlling or preventing these conditions. One key antioxidant enzyme implicated in the regulation of ROS-mediated tissue damage is extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD). EC-SOD is found in the extracellular matrix of tissues and is ideally situated to prevent cell and tissue damage initiated by extracellularly produced ROS. In addition, EC-SOD is likely to play an important role in mediating nitric oxide-induced signaling events, since the reaction of superoxide and nitric oxide can interfere with nitric oxide signaling. This review will discuss the regulation of EC-SOD and its role in a variety of oxidant-mediated diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Free Radicals
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Reperfusion Injury
  • Signal Transduction
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Superoxide Dismutase