Reactive oxygen species and peroxisomes: struggling for balance

Biofactors. Jul-Aug 2009;35(4):346-55. doi: 10.1002/biof.48.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can surely be considered as multifunctional biofactors within the cell. They are known to participate in regular cell functions, for example, as signal mediators, but overproduction under oxidative stress conditions leads to deleterious cellular effects, cell death and diverse pathological conditions. Peroxisomal function has long been linked to oxygen metabolism due to the high concentration of H(2)O(2)-generating oxidases in peroxisomes and their set of antioxidant enzymes, especially catalase. Still, mitochondria have been very much placed in the centre of ROS metabolism and oxidative stress. This review discusses novel findings concerning the relationship between ROS and peroxisomes, as they revealed to be a key player in the dynamic spin of ROS metabolism and oxidative injury. An overview of ROS generating enzymes as well as their antioxidant counterparts will be given, exemplifying the precise fine-tuning between the opposing systems. Various conditions in which the balance between generation and scavenging of ROS in peroxisomes is perturbed, for example, exogenous manipulation, ageing and peroxisomal disorders, are addressed. Furthermore, peroxisome-derived oxidative stress and its effect on mitochondria (and vice versa) are discussed, highlighting the close interrelationship of both organelles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / physiology
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • D-Amino-Acid Oxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Peroxisomal Disorders / physiopathology
  • Peroxisomes / metabolism
  • Peroxisomes / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Urate Oxidase / metabolism
  • Xanthine Oxidase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Catalase
  • Xanthine Oxidase
  • D-Amino-Acid Oxidase
  • Urate Oxidase