Function of reactive oxygen species during animal development: passive or active?

Dev Biol. 2008 Aug 1;320(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.04.041. Epub 2008 May 11.


Oxidative stress is considered causal of aging and pathological cell death, however, very little is known about its function in the natural processes that support the formation of an organism. It is generally thought that cells must continuously protect themselves from the possible damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) (passive ROS function). However, presently, ROS are recognized as physiologically relevant molecules that mediate cell responses to a variety of stimuli, and the activities of several molecules, some developmentally relevant, are directly or indirectly regulated by oxidative stress (active ROS function). Here we review recent data that are suggestive of specific ROS functions during development of animals, particularly mammals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Reactive Oxygen Species