Oxidative stress and antioxidant treatment in diabetes

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1031:204-13. doi: 10.1196/annals.1331.020.


The many studies on oxidative stress, antioxidant treatment, and diabetic complications have shown that oxidative stress is increased and may accelerate the development of complications through the metabolism of excessive glucose and free fatty acids in diabetic and insulin-resistant states. However, the contribution of oxidative stress to diabetic complications may be tissue-specific, especially for microvascular disease that occurs only in diabetic patients but not in individuals with insulin resistance without diabetes, even though both groups suffer from oxidative stress. Although antioxidant treatments can show benefits in animal models of diabetes, negative evidence from large clinical trials suggests that new and more powerful antioxidants need to be studied to demonstrate whether antioxidants can be effective in treating complications. Furthermore, it appears that oxidative stress is only one factor contributing to diabetic complications; thus, antioxidant treatment would most likely be more effective if it were coupled with other treatments for diabetic complications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Complications / etiology
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Oxidants / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress*


  • Antioxidants
  • Oxidants