Mitochondria and reactive oxygen species

Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 Aug 15;47(4):333-43. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 May 8.


Mitochondria are a quantitatively relevant source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the majority of cell types. Here we review the sources and metabolism of ROS in this organelle, including the conditions that regulate the production of these species, such as mild uncoupling, oxygen tension, respiratory inhibition, Ca2+ and K+ transport, and mitochondrial content and morphology. We discuss substrate-, tissue-, and organism-specific characteristics of mitochondrial oxidant generation. Several aspects of the physiological and pathological roles of mitochondrial ROS production are also addressed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Electron Transport
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Proton Pumps / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Respiration*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Proton Pumps
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Potassium
  • Calcium